New privacy laws with Potential Fines of €20M or 4% of Turnover for Australian Businesses
Australian businesses can be liable for huge fines under new data protection laws in the European Union.
WHAT IS THE GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) of the European Union (“EU”) sets out strict online privacy laws aimed at streamlining data protection globally.
The requirements of the GDPR are broadly similar to those set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (“Privacy Act”) of Australia, but the new EU legislation has much harsher penalties.
HOW COULD THIS APPLY TO ME?
Although the GDPR is European legislation, it has extra-territorial application that can catch out unsuspecting Australian businesses.
Even if your business does not have an establishment in the EU, you could be liable if your business “controls” or “processes” personal data of data subjects in the EU, where those activities relate to:
- offering goods or services to EU citizens, irrespective of whether payment is required; and/or
- monitoring their behaviour so far as it takes place within the EU. This could include tracking how visitors from the EU interact with your website and social media accounts.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?
The penalties for breaching the GDPR could be crippling to your business. You could be fined the higher of:
- EUR €20 million; and
- 4% of the total worldwide turnover of your business in the preceding financial year.
Not a risk worth taking.
HOW DO I BECOME COMPLIANT?
To comply with the GDPR, you need to:
- be aware of the new rights granted to data subjects in the EU; and
Your business may also need to appoint a representative in the EU as a point of contact for EU data subjects and regulators.
”You could be fined EUR €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover for breaching the GDPR, even if your business has no EU establishment.
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This guide should not be relied on as a substitute for obtaining legal, financial or other professional advice. It is intended to provide general information only and is not intended to be comprehensive. The contents do not constitute legal, financial or taxation advice and must not be relied upon as such. You must seek specific professional advice tailored to your personal circumstances before taking any action based on this publication.