Fines dished out for data breaches have already doubled ahead of EU GDPR rules

Lynsey Barber
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Breaching data privacy has cost UK organisations £3.2m (Source: Getty)

The number of fines handed out for breaches of data privacy in the UK has nearly doubled with the value of penalties hitting £3.2m and both set to grow as new rules come into force.

The data privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), handed out 35 penalties last year, compared to 18 a year prior, while the number of enforcement notices ordering greater compliance jumped to 23 from nine.

Read more: One year until GDPR: The City speaks out about the overhaul of data regs

“The ICO can currently issue fines up to £500,000, but with this set to increase to up to four per cent of global turnover under the new regulation, UK organisations must use the remaining time to prepare for GDPR compliance before May next year," said Stewart Room, global cyber security and data protection legal services lead at PwC, which compiled the figures.

The EU general data protection rules (GDPR) come into force in just under a year's time. However, there have been warnings that many businesses remain unprepared.

“We’ve performed more than 150 GDPR readiness assessments with our clients around the world. Many struggle to know where to start with their preparations, but also how to move programmes beyond just risk reviews and data analysis to delivering real operational change," added Room.

Read more: Here are some things you didn’t know about GDPR, but you should

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