Raegan MacDonald, Senior Policy Manager and European Union Principal for Mozilla, a company renowned for its stance on privacy and championing of an open internet, has said that she believes that 2019 will see enhanced resources dedicated to the enforcement of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Speaking about the fact that there has, as of yet been no fines sanctioned under GDPR, Ms MacDonald said that she expects this to change in the coming year. Speaking to TNW she stated: “We haven’t seen the big fines levied just yet. But I suspect that if 2018 is the year of implementation, 2019 will be the year of enforcement.”
MacDonald added that she also expects that it will be confirmed the full impact of GDPR has not yet been truly experienced. She thinks it will be exposed that most companies are simply doing the minimum to make it look like that are complying, or making efforts to comply, with the new legislation.
MacDonald: “While it is early, I haven’t yet seen that impact, although some progress is being made. Many companies have updated their privacy policies and created tools to give users more control, such as ways to request that their data be deleted. Many companies appear to be interpreting GDPR as narrowly as possible. I’m concerned that privacy is still by default put at risk without users understanding or having meaningful control.”
She added that she believes that the acceptance of this ‘superficial’ approach is about to see a significant shift as the local data protection enforcement agencies in each EU Member State grow increasingly familiar with the legislation and how it is to be applied.
She stated: “Starting in 2019, I expect this ‘grace period’ to end, where companies will either shape up or face serious fines by regulators. Laws are only as strong as their enforcement, and we are encouraged by the fact that many data protection authorities are starting to closely scrutinize the underwhelming implementation measures taken by some companies (and the thousands of complaints filed).”
MacDonald went on to say that Mozilla would like to see greater authority be apportioned to users in relation to management of their private data, saying “Mozilla strongly believes that users should be given meaningful control, not just tools buried in privacy notices or deep within settings menus. And ultimately, we need strong enforcement in Europe against those companies that aren’t genuinely delivering on the principles in the GDPR.”