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A Look at GDPR 1 Year Later

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May 24, 2019

This month marks the 1-year anniversary from when the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. The latest Marsh Insight report, One-Year Anniversary of the GDPR: A Look Back and Ahead, examines the key developments over the last 12 months, the changing nature of data privacy protection, and what businesses should be aware of as technology and global regulation evolve.

The report said that "the EU's data protection authorities, recently reported that regulators brought more than 200,000 cases in 31 countries and issued nearly €56 million in fines in the first nine months the GDPR was in effect." What Marsh found most "striking" about this scenario was not the amount of the fines imposed but rather the "diversity of enforcement actions."

Initial regulatory actions demonstrated the broad range of GDPR obligations that extend well beyond data breach notification and that are "expansive in their interpretation of data privacy rights."

The report said, "No penalties have come close to the much-discussed maximum fine of €20 million or 4% of annual revenue, whichever is greater. But companies can expect data protection authorities to be aggressive with their sanction powers."

Other countries and some US states have proposed or adopted laws with protections that are similar to those in the GDPR, according to the report.

Marsh said that greater privacy control and regulation around the globe has driven a trend "toward greater data localization—the practice of keeping personal data stored on devices or servers that are physically present in the territory where the data was generated." Consequently, this "regulatory wave" has presented challenges for technologies such as cloud solutions that are meant to increase flexibility and efficiency.

Furthermore, Marsh said, "The growth and development of 5G networks, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence (AI) all depend on greater connectivity and increased data sharing," which will inevitably butt up against calls for greater scrutiny surrounding AI.

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