Data watchdog to collect nearly €18m in GDPR-related fines

Data watchdog to collect nearly €18m in GDPR-related fines

By far the largest fine is to be collected from tech giant Meta, which received a €17m penalty in March of this year. The company was fined an additional €265m earlier this week for a separate data breach. Picture:  Brian Lawless/PA

The country's privacy watchdog is set to collect nearly €18m in GDPR-related fines after a court approved several penalties which had gone unchallenged by the offending parties.

Six such fines were ratified in Dublin’s Circuit Court, a pre-requisite before the Data Protection Commission (DPC) can collect any of the penalties it hands out.

The DPC’s fining regime has picked up pace over the past 12 months after a slow start in the wake of GDPR being enacted in May 2018.

By far the largest fine is to be collected from tech giant Meta, which received a €17m penalty in March of this year over a series of 12 personal data breaches of its Facebook and Instagram platforms between June and December of 2018.

Meta foots the bill

Meta has in recent months appealed several larger fines, totaling in the hundreds of millions, incurred by its subsidiaries Whatsapp and Instagram. However, the €17m penalty was never objected to.

The company was fined an additional €265m earlier this week for a data breach which saw the user details of 533m Facebook account holders leaked on the internet between 2018 and 2019.

The second largest fine to be collected by the DPC — also dating from March — was for €463,000 which was handed down to Bank of Ireland. It followed an investigation which found that thousands of the lender’s customers had had their data accidentally altered in such a way that it could have affected their credit ratings, and potentially prevented them from successfully applying for loans.

Limerick City and County Council, meanwhile, will have to pay a fine of €110,000 dating from last December. It relates to a litany of data protection failures regarding the local authority’s use of hundreds of CCTV cameras across the county, the installation of the vast majority of which was never officially sanctioned.

Other penalties which can now be collected by the State include a €60,000 fine for the Teaching Council of Ireland, and €5,000 and €1,500 fines which were respectively incurred by Slane Credit Union and MOVE Ireland, a charity which works with men who have behaved violently in the home.

Any fines and rulings imposed by the DPC are subject to rights of appeal, with the party ruled against having 28 days in which to lodge its objection.

Thereafter the fines must be ratified by the courts before being collected by the Exchequer via the Department of Finance.


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