The Cost of GDPR Non-Compliance: Fines and Penalties

by Sarah Harvey / July 6th, 2018

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a top regulatory focus, and for good reason. Organizations across the globe are mapping their data, updating their privacy policies, updating contracts, reviewing their data collection processes, and trying to figure out whether they are data controller or processor – all to avoid the severe consequences of GDPR non-compliance. Not only are the requirements and scope for this data protection law extremely broad, but the fines and penalties that organizations could face for GDPR non-compliance are unlike any fines and penalties imposed by a regulatory body before.

GDPR Fines and Penalties

Organizations that have grown used to being slapped with minor fines for data breaches or misusing consumers’ data will no longer be able to put the security and privacy of their consumers’ data on the back burner. To gain GDPR compliance, organizations who market, collect, use, or store consumers’ personal data must make the security and privacy of consumers’ data a top priority, or be faced with the severe consequences of GDPR non-compliance. GDPR is equivalent to a US Federal Law, and GDPR non-compliance can lead to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover – whichever is greater.

Fines and Penalties

  • €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover – whichever is greater.

For example, Hilton – one of the largest hotel and resort chains in the world – was fined a mere $700,000 for a data breach that caused the information of 350,000 cardholders to be exposed. That’s a fine of just $2 per person affected by the breach. Considering that Hilton’s annual global turnover for the previous year was $10.5 billion, the company could have been fined a maximum of $420 million for the breach under the GPDR’s harshest fine. That’s a fine of $1,200 per person affected. For data controllers like Hilton, as well as data processors, understanding the consequences of GDPR non-compliance is crucial. A $700,000 fine for Hilton presumably didn’t impact the organization much, but a $420 million fine would have had much more severe implications.

Want to learn what fines and penalties will be enforced for GDPR non-compliance? Need to know what to do if your organization violates multiple GDPR provisions? Ready to learn what your organization can do to reduce the maximum fines?