The European Commission’s record €4.34bn (£3.9bn) fine for antitrust practices over the Android mobile operating system has “set the benchmark” for pan-European regulators to batter tech giants with the steepest of penalties when it comes to GDPR, say experts.
Although GDPR will be regulated by the one-stop-shop principle, certain countries are far tougher than others in their action on breaches of the data laws, with the usual suspects – including the UK, Germany, France, and Spain – likely to roll out the big guns in their enforcement of the new regulation, Dominique Shelton, co-chair of the ad tech privacy and data management practice at Perkins Coie told AdExchanger.
Privacy campaigner Max Schrems has already filed complaints against Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Android to the authorities in France, Austria, Belgium and Hamburg, Germany. “These places were not chosen arbitrarily or by accident,” Shelton added.
Professor Mark Skilton, of Warwick Business School, said: “It looks like this time the fine will fit the ‘crime’ in this long running dispute of market dominance and manipulation.
“The Internet is in urgent need of moving to its next level of evolution, which will be a more distributed and edge-based world. It is being seen with the rise of the Internet of Things that are multiplying the number of connections to smart homes, products, transport and everything else – this will bring a more open market.
“This is the next battleground for Google and the big tech players, but GDPR and the Commission’s focus on the tech giants is becoming a significant issue for them.”
One industry source added: “This fine might have been a long time coming but it was a complicated case. Google has had it coming for a long time and has used every trick in the book to fight it. Breaches of GDPR should be much easier to prove. It certainly sets the benchmark to GDPR enforcement.”
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