You’ll notice I said ‘when’, not if, because if you have personal data online you will, eventually, be breached in some way.
I know this because the GDPR’s definition of ‘personal data breach‘ (Art. 4(12)) does not just mean ‘hacked by a bad guy’, it means: “a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed;”. This therefore includes every unauthorised action that happens to the data, including the inevitability of human error. Nothing malicious, just a simple mistake, but it’s still a breach.
I have long maintained that fines under GDPR are the last resort, and that the ICO do NOT want to use Article 83 of the GDPR as a stick to scare organisations into compliance.
The ICO commissioner, Elizabeth Denham has even said as much herself, using the word “nonsense” when it was suggested that large fines would become the norm, that “Issuing fines has always been, and will continue to be, a last resort[…]“, and “While fines may be the sledgehammer in our toolbox, we have access to lots of other tools that are well suited to the task at hand and just as effective […]“.
I have made no secret of my distain for the ‘GDPR Practitioner Certification‘ badge, and I still have no time for it, or its recipients who pass it off as real-world experience. But what alternatives are there if you want to obtain some form of data protection certification / privacy education?
The de facto standard, and really the only player in town, is the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), and their flagship badge, the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP), is the most widely recognised and respected acronym you can add to your CV/resume. It’s the equivalent of the CISSP for those of us in the cybersecurity industry.
I have made no secret of my distain (bordering on disgust) for anyone using the GDPR’s ‘administrative fines’ to further their own ends. Whether the ends are selling products, services, or column inches, trying to scare organisations into parting with their hard-earned cash is totally unacceptable and I only hope that most of them have failed.
That said, it is clear from Google (€50M), British Airways (€200+M), and Marriott (€110+M) that enormous fines are now a reality for organisations who egregiously break the law. And make no mistake, they ARE breaking the law. A law that enforces one of OUR fundamental human right.