The level of fine imposed will depend on an assessment by the national data protection authority (DPA) of mitigating or aggravating circumstances listed in the GDPR including the nature, seriousness and duration of the infringement, whether the data involved was sensitive and any previous breaches.
A year on, with the first wave of decisions and fines now issued by a number of DPAs and investigations ongoing in others, it is interesting to examine the initial effects of the GDPR in the EU. Has it managed to enhance protection for people’s privacy? Did the concern expressed at its potential impact turn out to be justified? Are different trends emerging in different EU countries? These and other questions are discussed below.
Several companies involved in Hungarian Data Protection Authority (NAIH) procedures have been fined. The usual amount of the fine is between HUF 500,000 and HUF 1 million, (approximately EUR 1500 and EUR 3000).
In one of its most relevant recent decisions, the NAIH imposed a fine of HUF 1 million on a company with a turnover of HUF 15 million, which it considered a symbolic amount, for not restricting and issuing copies of camera recordings, despite a request from a data subject. The data subject wanted to use the recordings as evidence in legal proceedings, as stated in the request. The company justified its decision on several grounds, including the fact that the data subject did not indicate how deleting the recording would infringe his or her legitimate interest, and in connection with what legal proceedings he or she made the request (although required to do so under Hungarian law).
According to NAIH, the company violated the data subject's right to restrict data processing. Under Article 18 (1) (c) of the GDPR, it is sufficient for the data subject to argue that restricting processing is necessary for the submission and enforcement of legal claims. There is no need to justify the right and the legitimate interest further than that. The conflicting Hungarian legal provision has been amended by the GDPR implementation law mentioned below.
In addition, the company failed to inform the data subject about the reasons for its decision and the legal remedies available to the data subject.
In imposing the fine, the authority assessed the nature of the infringement as an aggravating circumstance, as it violated the applicant's rights. The refusal of the request also led to the deletion of the recordings, which cannot be restored. It was a mitigating circumstance that the company committed the infringement for the first time, and also that the conflicting national legal provision. was still in force, which could have misled the company in its decision to deny the data subject’s request.
Hungary has implemented the GDPR with an implementation act came into force on 26 April 2019. The aim of the amendments is the harmonisation of sectoral laws in order to apply the GDPR. The GDPR implementation act amends 86 acts to comply with the GDPR, including the Labour Code. As a result, employees’ documents, the processing of the criminal records and the agreements relating to the use of work-related IT equipment must be reviewed.
Experience has shown that the NAIH is active; several proceedings have been initiated checking the data processing practices of operators and assessing compliance.