On 11 December 2019, the first court verdict was issued in the case regarding the first penalty imposed by the Polish supervisory authority for failure to comply with GDPR. On 15 March 2019, the Polish supervisory authority imposed a fine of PLN 943,000 for the fact that the company did not inform nearly 6.6 million people that it was processing their data. The data was obtained from publicly available registers. The company claimed that sending letters would cost it over PLN 30 million. Therefore, it did not comply with the information obligation under Article 14 of the GDPR. Moreover, the supervisory authority ordered the company to inform data subjects operating business activity and those who had suspended their business activity that they were processing their data. The company appealed against the decision to the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw and the latter partially overturned it.
In its verdict, the Court accepted the position of the Polish supervisory authority, considering that the publication of the information obligation only on the Company's website in the domain of bisnode.pl is insufficient and is contrary to the rights and freedoms of data subjects. The Court also questioned the company's argument that providing direct information in the form of sending it by traditional mail to all persons whose data it processes would require a disproportionate effort. In the court's opinion, there can be no sign of equality between the great effort referred to in Article 14 par. 5(b) of the GDR and financial outlays. However, the Court adjudicated that the obligation to provide information clause does not relate to data subjects who have closed their business activity. These finding shall significantly reduce the scope of the infringement.
Therefore, the supervisory authority was obliged to conduct another administrative proceeding and set a new amount of the penalty, taking into account the Court’s findings. After publication of the written reasoning of the verdict it would be possible to present in details the Court’s findings.