Flood of complaints to EU countries since data law adopted

January 25, 2019
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

More than 95,000 complaints have been filed with EU countries since the bloc's flagship data protection laws took effect eight months ago, the executive European Commission said Friday.

The complaints have already triggered three financial penalties, including France's record 50 million euros fine Monday on US giant Google for not doing enough inform users on how their data is used.

Google has promised to appeal the French ruling that was applied under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was adopted on May 25 last year.

"Citizens have become more conscious of the importance of data protection and of their rights," First Vice President Frans Timmermans and other commission officials said.

"And they are now exercising these rights, as national Data Protection Authorities see in their daily work. They have by now received more than 95,000 complaints from citizens," the joint statement added.

"What is at stake is not only the protection of our privacy, but also the protection of our democracies and ensuring the sustainability of our data-driven economies."

The officials, however, pointed out that Brussels was still waiting for five member countries to adapt the GDPR to their national legislation.

The five are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Slovenia and Greece, a European source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The GDPR is enforced by national data protection agencies.

The EU has billed the GDPR as the biggest shake-up of data privacy regulations since the birth of the web, saying it sets new standards in the wake of the Facebook data harvesting scandal.

The law establishes the key principle that individuals must explicitly grant permission for their data to be used and gives consumers the "right to know" who is processing their information and what it will be used for.

People will be able to block the processing of their data for commercial reasons and even have data deleted under the "right to be forgotten".

The case for the new rules was boosted by the scandal over the harvesting of Facebook users' data by Cambridge Analytica, a US-British political research firm, for the 2016 US presidential election.

Explore further: EU warns Facebook not to lose control of data security

Related Stories

Recommended for you

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jeffhans1
3 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2019
The right to be forgotten should not be more important than the public right to know about illegal things you have been convicted of in the past. You are allowing rich powerful people to change the rules for their benefit and ignoring the consequences to everyone else. Enjoy the chaos your well-intended laws bring.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
not rated yet Jan 27, 2019
The right to be forgotten should not be more important than the public right to know about illegal things you have been convicted of in the past. You are allowing rich powerful people to change the rules for their benefit and ignoring the consequences to everyone else. Enjoy the chaos your well-intended laws bring.


It is a consequence that bears analysis, so far we can agree. However, thereafter we disagree:

- It is unclear how the law would bring chaos, when they simply block an option that was not available before (of having access to someone's criminal record).

And we can still get access to that data, it just is more onerous and on a "need to know" basis.

- It was average people who asked for this, businesses (often supported by rich people due to stocks et cetera) such as Cambridge Analytica did not want it.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.