Firms “Must Use Remaining Time” To Prepare For GDPR

The number of firms fined for breaching data protection laws almost doubled in 2016, but new rules launching in May 2018 could see penalties for infringement soar.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who published the research, said 35 businesses were fined amounting to £3.2 million in total.

It added that a further 23 enforcement notices (forewarnings that require an organisation to improve compliance) were issued. PwC says this is a 155 per cent year-on-year increase.

However, new rules coming into effect next May could see fines exceed more than £17.4 million.

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, will “protect EU citizens’ data privacy” and “reshape the way organisations across the region approach data privacy”.

It means firms will face much tougher obligations and harsher penalties if they fail to comply.

Under the GDPR, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can issue fines of up to 4 per cent of an organisation’s global turnover, or 20 million euros, whichever is higher.

Comparatively, ICO has the power to charge just £500,000 at present.

Stewart Room, an expert in global cybersecurity and data protection at PwC, said: “UK organisations must use the remaining time to prepare for GDPR compliance before May next year.”

Whilst some core concepts will remain the same under the GDPR (such as personal data, data controllers and data processors), the GDPR ultimately introduces new key concepts (such as greater enforcement powers and territorial scope) which businesses must consider and beware of prior to implementation next year.

Market Seller Found Guilty Of Trade Mark Infringement

A market seller in the UK has been found guilty of infringing various intellectual property rights after he was caught trading counterfeit goods.

Mr. Green reportedly infringed the registered trade marks of major fashion labels such as Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Nike after he was caught with more than 320 items of counterfeit clothing in his possession last year.

Following a search by officers, the 50-year-old market seller from Nottinghamshire was discovered with almost £2,500 in cash on his person.

Cambridge Magistrates Court found Mr. Green guilty of both money laundering and trade mark offences and the Court subsequently granted a forfeiture order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Aileen Andrews, trading standards service manager for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “seized cash or other proceeds of crime can go directly back to victims by way of compensation, but in this case, we’ll receive a percentage of the cash seized under the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme operated by the Home Office.

“We will use this money to continue to crack down on criminal activity which can have an impact on both consumers and legitimate local business within the county.”

Exploiting, copying or otherwise using another’s intellectual property without proper authorisation will amount to infringement. It is important to remember that intellectual property infringement is not a victimless crime – it can, and has the ability to, threaten legitimate businesses, employees and significantly undermine consumer confidence.