As of October 2018, European data protection regulators had issued several fines against data controllers who failed to comply with their GDPR obligations. The most severe of the few sanctions that have been issued so far is the €50-million fine imposed on Google by the French regulator on January 21, 2019. In light of these recent fines, it is worth taking a look at the position of the Polish supervisory authority on the topic of enforcing sanctions.

Polish citizens making use of their new rights

According to the President of the Personal Data Protection Office, Edyta Bielak-Jomaa, awareness regarding data protection in Poland has risen significantly since the introduction of the GDPR. In the last eight months, the Office's employees have completed a total of 13,000 helpline consultations and the Office has received over 3,000 complaints regarding unlawful data processing. While some of those complaints are unfounded, a large number of them may lead to financial consequences for data controllers.

Fines "inevitable" according to Polish regulator

It is very likely that the upcoming months will see a number of the Office's decisions concerning unlawful data processing. As further revealed by President Bielak-Jomaa, "A substantial amount of administrative proceedings are being conducted. Fines are bound to be imposed soon and they will be severe, as required by the Regulation." For now, both the number and identity of data controllers who are subject to those proceedings – as well as the amount of potential fines – remain unknown. It is worth noting that so far no fines have been imposed by the Office under the new Regulation.

More inspections to come

According to the recently announced annual plan of sectorial inspections for 2019, this year the Polish Personal Data Protection Office will focus its inspection efforts on specific fields, such as telemarketing, profiling in the banking and insurance sectors, as well as waste identification and monitoring systems. The change of focus is a direct result of numerous complaints and questions received by the Office concerning those sectors.