Week in Review (24 May)
GDPR anniversary marked by Google probe
The shortage of large fines issued under GDPR a year after it came into force is due in part to the lengthy period of time that investigations take to reach a conclusion.
The Irish Data Protection authority will be particularly closely watched for any acceleration in the pace of fines, given that it houses the European headquarters of many of the largest tech firms. On 22 May the Dublin based regulator announced that it had opened an investigation into Google and specifically whether processing of personal data carried out at each stage of an advertising transaction is in compliance with the relevant provisions of the GDPR.
The Irish investigation is likely to take months, if not years, meaning that the imposition of a fine will not be imminent. If Google is found to have been in serious breach of its obligations it could face a fine running up to 4% of its annual global turnover. Any such fine would be strongly contested by Google, who are currently appealing a French GDPR fine, to date the only to be issued under the regulation.
Mixed messages on Carige’s future if no buyer found
It remains likely that – if Carige is to remain afloat – it will require state support. Matteo Salvini has now admitted that it is a possibility, telling an Italian newspaper on 23 May ‘the League is ready for a state rescue if new, real, trustworthy capitals fail to come forward quickly.’
It remains to be seen if the ECB will allow a precautionary recapitalisation to take place in the case of Carige, and whether a refusal will develop into another point of contention between Italy and European regulators. A 22 May report suggested that the ECB administrators in place at the bank view a liquidation as the best option if a buyer does not come forward. The report stressed that this was not the immediate option, and that more time would be given for a buyer to emerge – but that the ECB could not wait months. The ECB is believed to be sceptical about the possibility of a precautionary recapitalisation, as they believe that Carige is too small, and not viable – therefore rendering it ineligible.