One year later and Billions of dollars in fines, and you’re still not listening.

A year ago, I wrote an article called, Get GDP or Get Fined 20 Million Euros, where I warned about the European Union targeting companies (and in my opinion, US companies) for security, privacy, and for anti-trust violations. Wow, Amazon just found out the hard way, that I wasn’t kidding. In 2018 alone, Amazon paid more in fines to the EU, than they did in taxes. I don’t care how much money you make, 5.1 Billion Dollars is still a hell of a lot of money.

Google Paid More in EU Fines Than in Taxes in 2018

Alphabet's income tax compared to fines imposed by the European Commission

Amazon Fines by the EU via/GDRP  – Source: Statista

What is GDPR

As a reminder, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe and to protect and empower EU citizens data and privacy and to set the way organizations, receive, store (or not store) use, and distribute data and control the citizen’s privacy. In a nut shell, they just got tired of their citizens data and privacy being hacked.

Now, to be fair, this was not all for security breaches, but for a number of penalties related to trade and regulation violations too. The point is however, governments, although seemly concerned about their citizens privacy (yea right!) and protection, are also looking for additional revenue – and who better to pay, then those evil conglomerates located in the US.

Is Your Data Secure?

Since my article, the EU has fined hundreds of companies from all walks of life[1], billions of dollars and the trend does not seem to be slowing. Blame it on politics or on a need for cash, the trend does not seem to be slowing.  So once again, if you are looking to do business in the EU, or any other country for that matter, you had better make sure your data, policies and procedures are solid and secure. I only harp on this, because most, (in my experience, less than 10%), of the individuals in our niche’ rarely want to talk about security and at the very least, complain when we explain how “security” is a real and necessary cost-algorithm of doing business [2].  It doesn’t matter if you’re a hundred-thousand dollar a year business or do over a billion dollars a year, if your data’s not secure, one way or another, it will catch up to you and you will pay the price – be you BIG or small.

  1. Just a few (albeit, largest, of the companies hit with EU GDPR Fines in 2018
    • Amazon: 5.1 Billion
    • Apple: 15 Billion (taxes)
    • Google: 3.8 – 5.1 Billion
    • Qualcomm: 2.1 Billion
    • Facebook: 125 Million
  2. Only 29% of businesses have implemented all measures necessary to comply with the GDPR. Panda Media Center