While doubts about the implementation of the GDPR arose even before its occurrence on May, 25th 2018, first reactions concerning compliance are already emerging.
While companies, on one hand, looked forward to a soft entering into force of the European Authorities Regulation (chapter VI GDPR), consumers’ associations, on the other hand, were, quite unexpectedly, on alert. The associations have rapidly exploited the opportunities given by the articles of the GDPR concerning the right to regain control of their personal data. For instance, Article 77 states that: “every data subject shall have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority (…) if the data subject considers that the processing of personal data relating to him or her infringes this Regulation.”. It relates to individuals as well as class actions.
Maximilian Schrems, an Austrian lawyer and activist for protection of personal data. Three days later, the French association “La quadrature du Net”, in the name of more than 12 000 plaintiffs, has taken similar actions against Amazon, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple. The Complaints were based on non-compliance with the terms imposed by the GDPR for acquisition of users consent in personal data collection. According to the plaintiffs, the consent for collection and use of personal data is not authorized. Indeed, they apply an “all-or-nothing” politic: a forced consent, without which users cannot use the services offered by the companies. Thus, large companies are taking advantage of their clients. These complaints could turn out to be costly for the firms since the fines for GDPR infringement can amount up to 4% of the companies’ global turnover.
The way in which these complaints will be treated and the way in which the fines will be applied remain uncertain. Different national authorities in charge of the protection of personal data will be asked to cooperate in order to arrive at a unique solution for all the companies concerned. The decisions will thus be crucial and are highly anticipated.