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 (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.