UK Data Protection Cases Rose Markedly in 2018: Report

UK consumers are signing up in droves to complain about data safety violations, according to a study by 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is now working on 24,319 cases, including non-data protection ones. That marks a 133% increase over the number in 2017. 

Of the cases filed this year — which came in at 21,162 — 87% concern breaches of data protection legislation, including GDPR. That’s 8% higher than the number last year, before GDPR came into effect — an increase of 12,069 cases.

“To put this into perspective, the total number of cases that fall under either FOIA/Environmental Information Regulations collectively is just 836 more than for the same timeframe for the previous year,” states the report written by Micky Khanna, founder of GDPRPLAN.

The results suggest that the public is increasingly aware of its privacy rights, the report adds.



However, many of the cases probably are about violations of the 1998 Data Protection Act: the firm was unable to determine the specific legislation referred to in each case.

The purpose of the study was to determine whether mass media coverage and publicity have had an impact on public awareness of the EU privacy regulation.

The study notes that it is not specifically aimed about marketing, but adds that digital marketing faces “one of the highest risks,” given the need to obtain — and prove — consent.

The is that current consent frameworks do not comply with the regulation, it continues.

The study adds that “it’s difficult to claim “legitimate interest” when the interest weighs more in favour of the ad agency/trading desk/merchant than the user).”

The highest month for cases this year was August, when 5,015 data protection complaints were filed (out of a total of 5,630 ICO cases reported overall).

This represents a 172% increase over the 1,843 that were made in August 2017.

Last year, the highest month was October, when 2,174 data cases came in.

The study concludes that the 'hype' and mass media awareness created by the arrival of the biggest change to Data Protection in 20 years has led to the public being far more informed of the way in which their personal information is being used, and the stats also suggest that they are not happy with the way in which companies use their information.

Having filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the ICO, studied the stats for 2018 and compared them to those for 2017.


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