The State of GDPR Compliance for European Countries



Why is GDPR Compliance Mandatory in Europe?


What are the GDPR Fines?


Top 5 biggest GDPR fines 


Developments in GDPR


Checklist for GDPR Compliance?



The General Data Protection Regulation, also known as GDPR, is a set of rules or regulations made by the European Union in compliance with the privacy concerns of EU residents. GDPR in Europe is the toughest privacy rule in the world. 


Although GDPR is made by the European Union (EU), it imposes these regulations on any organization in the world which may target or collect data related to the people resident in Europe. GDPR in Europe was first introduced in the European parliament in 2016 and was put into effect in May 2018. 


More precisely, GDPR is a regulation that requires businesses and organizations to protect the sensitive and personal data of EU citizens. Non-compliance with the GDPR can cost any small, medium-sized, or large business several million euros. 


GDPR in Europe has set a higher bar for companies in obtaining data related to EU residents. Any company, whether residing in or outside Europe, has to make sure of GDPR compliance while tracking data of the people of Europe. 


Why is GDPR Compliance Mandatory in Europe?


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Technology and the way we use the internet have been evolving since it was first created. Moreover, how different organizations process our data is also changing with each passing day. 


The more we move towards the future, the more our data becomes insecure. Privacy and security of data have become a major concern for many people nowadays. With this in mind, the EU crafted and passed GDPR in Europe in 2018. 


GDPR compliance is mandatory in Europe to provide individuals more control over how their personal data is collected and processed. It has transformed the ways businesses handle data. 


What are the GDPR Fines?


The fines or penalties that occurred due to GPPR non-compliance are optional, not mandatory. They wholly depend upon the nature of the infringement and are imposed on a case-by-case basis. 


  • The type of infringement, whether severe or not, how long it lasted


It means whether the nature of breaking of law was severe enough to be punished by the authorities or not. Also, the time the infringement lasted is crucial when determining the penalties for GDPR non-compliance.


  • Accidental infringement


There are cases where a company may break the law accidentally. For example, an infringement occurs at a business but they didn’t know it was going to happen in the first place, and it happened accidentally. In this regard, the business may not have to face severe consequences of the infringement. 


  • The security measures you took


The security measures you take once the law is broken also play an essential role in determining the penalty. You should take security measures on time to save yourself from serious penalties. 


  • Whether it was your first GDPR infringement


If GDPR non-compliance happens at your business for the first time, it might also make a difference in the severity of the penalty that your company has to face. 


  • What actions do you take


It is another reason that might reduce the chances of heavy penalties or fines for your organization. Your actions play a major role when it comes to determining fines for GDPR non-compliance. 


There are several reasons that a business may or may not face heavy fines. However, the maximum fine could be up to €20 million or 4% of the global financial revenue of the business which is quite higher. 


Here are examples of heavy penalties faced by some of the big companies. 


Top 5 biggest GDPR fines 



These were some of the biggest fines companies face due to GDPR non-compliance. 


Developments in GDPR


GDPR has evolved a lot since it got enforced in 2018. And it is going to evolve further as we move forward into the future. 


In 2021, the European Union introduced some changes in the GDPR that further intend to enhance the effectiveness of the law. These developments are given below. 


A broadened vision of joint controller


The term joint controller is not new to GDPR. It has been part of the law since 2018. However, some development has been made to its definition as a part of changes to the GDPR.


A joint controller consists of two or more persons or entities who will be held responsible for the collection and protection of consumer data. Ideally, they will share the same objectives and purposes. Also, they will determine how the data will be processed. In the case of GDPR non-compliance, the joint controller will be held responsible and face possible penalties. 


Removal of the privacy shield 


Previously GDPR used a privacy shield that allowed the European countries to transfer data with their US counterparts. This helped in a smoother relationship between companies and made it easier for tech companies, such as Google, Yahoo, and Apple to share data with their US-based companies. 


However, this privacy shield has been removed, and the US-based companies now have to adapt to the new GDPR privacy clauses to use the EU’s customer data. 


This development is important because it makes US-based companies abide by the EU’s privacy-related laws and regulations. 


Cookie consent


Previously, GDPR was unclear about the way websites use cookies. But now, new regulations have been made. This new regulation requires the explicit consent of site visitors for installing cookies on their system. Additional updates are expected to be made by GDPR in the cookies policy. 


Shifting from third-party data tracking 


Another development in the GDPR made IoT-based companies shift away from third-party data processing. We all know the risks associated with sharing data with outer companies. Therefore, tech-based companies should shift away from third-party data tracking and processing. 


The result of all these developments in the GDPR is making many companies take laws and legislation seriously. Due to GDPR in Europe, European customers are enjoying higher levels of security and privacy of their data than ever before. Also, this is inspiring for other nations to adopt such levels of protection for their citizens.


What is the checklist for GDPR Compliance?


                                                                       Image credit: smashing magazine


GDPR compliance requirements consist of a checklist. The principles of GDPR compliance fulfill the requirements of the checklist that needs to be followed by companies. According to article 5 of GDPR, there are seven principles related to the processing of personal data. 


Lawfulness, transparency, and fairness


GDPR compliance requires companies to have lawful, transparent, and fair processing of data. Processing data lawfully means that it is based on legitimate purposes. Processing data fairly means that companies do not process data other than for legitimate purposes. Transparency shows the way the data is handled is informed by the data subject. 


Purpose limitation


Purpose limitation in GDPR compliance forbids the company to process data outside the purpose for which it was collected. And not to keep personal data once the purpose is fulfilled. 


Data minimization


The companies are expected to only collect and process data that is necessary. They are forbidden to collect unnecessary amounts of data for legitimate purposes. 




Data should be kept accurate and up to date where necessary. Data that is inaccurate shall be erased without any delay.  


Storage limitation


According to the GDPR compliance principle, “data shall be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes


Integrity and confidentiality


Integrity and confidentiality are essential factors when processing data. Companies must ensure the lawful use and security of personal data. 




The data controller is held accountable for GDPR compliance. He must abide by all the principles mentioned above to protect users’ data. 


There are some other factors that need to be considered in the checklist for GDPR compliance. 


Cookie consent 


If your website uses cookies and third-party integration, you are obliged to ask for the consent of the end-users under the EU GDPR to track their data, such as IP addresses, Unique IDs, search history, etc.  


Add GDPR terms


GDPR compliance checklist consists of adding certain GDPR terms as your adherence to GDPR. Some of them are data subject, the data controller, data processor, consent, etc. 


Privacy Policy


The Privacy Policy is an essential part of any website’s requirements. According to GDPR, your privacy policy must contain clear descriptions of how you handle users’ data. Also, it must be easily accessible for users.


Option to accept/reject data tracking


Data tracking is done by websites to collect and process data (often personal data). GDPR compliance requires you to ask for the explicit consent of end-users to accept or reject data tracking. 


GDPR compliance requires businesses to follow these principles when making an approach related to processing personal data. If businesses do not comply with the GDPR in Europe, they have to face heavy penalties in the form of fines.


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Amar Basic


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