In commemoration of the world data protection day (held annually on the 28th January), the European Commission (the Commission) published a statement on the EU data protection law particularly since the coming into force of the GDPR on the 25th May 2018. Citing the Facebook Analytica case and other recent data breaches as references, the Commission noted that there is no doubt that it is taking the right steps towards the protection of democracies, ensuring sustainable economies as well as giving individuals control over their personal data.

The Commission listed some positive effects of the GDPR as including:

  • Consciousness among citizens of their data protection rights which has resulted in over 95,180 complaints being made,
  • Better coordination and guidance being provided by Data Protection Authorities etc.

The Commission was of the view that though five Member States of the EU are yet to adapt their local legal framework to the GDPR, the Commission counts on them to address this occurrence in order to ensure an EU wide data protection regulation as soon as possible.

As part of the statement, the Commission published some infographics which highlighted post-GDPR facts and figures, some of which are listed below:

  • Out of a total of 95,180 complaints that have been made under the GDPR so far, the activities in which most complaints have been made are telemarketing, promotional emails and video surveillance/CCTV;
  • A total of 41,502 data breach notifications have been made to supervisory authorities across the EU;
  • There have been 255 investigations by data protection authorities on the basis of individual complaints;
  • Three fines have been issued so far to – a social network operator in Germany for failing to secure users’ data (EUR 20,000), a sports betting café in Austria for unlawful video surveillance (EUR 5,280) and to Google for the lack of consent on advertisements in France (EUR 50,000,000)

As the Commission reckons, the GDPR is leading the way for a modern data protection regime on an international level, which is necessary for global data exchange and international trade. From the statement released by the Commission, one gets the feeling of enthusiasm and an expectation of great things to come. In fact, these are very interesting times for data protection law and it will be exciting to see how this new data protection regime will continue to unfold in the coming years.