Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon

Ireland ranks second in Europe for GDPR complaints

Report says more than 6,700 complaints lodged in 2019
Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon

20 January 2020

Ireland reported 6,716 data breaches in the past 12 months to the Irish Data Protection Commission, the second highest level of breach notifications across Europe.

According to DLA Piper’s latest GDPR Data Breach Survey, data protection regulators have imposed €102.5 million in fines under the GDPR regime for a wide range of GDPR infringements, not just for data breach.

More than 160,000 data breach notifications have been reported across the 28 European Union Member States plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein since the GDPR came into force on 25th May 2018.




France, Germany and Austria top the rankings for the total value of GDPR fines imposed with just over €51 million, €24.5 million and €18 million respectively. The Netherlands, Germany and the UK topped the table for the number of data breaches notified to regulators with 40,647, 37,636 and 22,181 notifications each.

The daily rate of breach notifications has also increased by 12.6% from 247 notifications per day for the first eight months of GDPR from 25 May 2018 to 27 January 2019, to 278 breach notifications per day for the current year.

Weighting the results against country populations, Ireland reported 132.52 breaches per 100,000 people, ranking Ireland with the second highest level of notifications per capita. The Netherlands again come top with 147.2 reported breaches per 100,000 people, up from 89.8 per 100,000 people last year, followed by Ireland and Denmark. Italy, Romania and Greece reported the fewest number of breaches per capita. Italy, a country with a population of over 62 million people, only recorded 1886 data breach notifications illustrating the cultural differences in approach to breach notification.

The highest GDPR fine to date was €50 million imposed by the French data protection regulator on Google, for alleged infringements of the transparency principle and lack of valid consent, rather than for data breach. Following two high profile data breaches, the UK ICO published two notices of intent to impose fines in July 2019 totalling £282 million (approximately €329 million) although neither of these were finalised as at the date of this report.

Commenting on the report, John Magee, Intellectual Property & Technology partner at DLA Piper Ireland said: “GDPR has driven the issue of data breach well and truly into the open. The rate of breach notification has increased by more than 12% compared to last year’s report and it is no surprise to see Ireland – a strategic global hub for data-rich businesses across many sectors – once again ranked highly on number of breach notifications. The total amount of fines of €102.5 million imposed to date is relatively low compared with the potential maximum fines that can be imposed under GDPR, indicating that we are still in the early days of enforcement. We expect to see momentum build with more multi-million Euro fines being imposed over the coming year as regulators ramp up their enforcement activity.”

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