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In 2016, telecommunications company TalkTalk was fined £400,000 for failing to prevent a cyber attacker from accessing customer data. Should this happen after 25th May 2018 the company would be fined £74m under the new General Data Protection Regulation, resulting in a consequential 18,000% increase.

All businesses operating in the EU must ramp up their GDPR efforts otherwise they could see themselves facing hefty fines. As companies collect and store more data there is an inherent risk of it being used for felonious activity.

Tough data protection regulations are ‘designed to harmonise’ data laws across the European Union to help protect EU citizens’ privacy. The new laws will reshape how organisations operate. Companies trading in the EU such as Apple could have €756 million wiped out in one go thanks to a substantial 4% fine.

Company
Industry
Revenue (Billions of Euros)
Total Penalty: 4% tier (Millions of Euros)
Apple Technology € 189 € 756
BP Energy € 159 € 636
Samsung Technology € 149 € 596
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Automotive € 106 € 424
Schwarz Retail € 92 € 368
Legal & General Group Financial services € 91 € 364
Prudential Financial services € 84 € 336
Alphabet tInternet € 78 € 312
Microsoft Technology € 74 € 296
Carrefour Retail € 73 € 292
Tesco Retail € 68 € 272
Aviva Financial services € 64 € 256n
Aldi Retail € 60 € 240
Tesco Retail € 59 € 236
Metro Retail € 54 € 216
Rewe Retail € 54 € 216
HSBC Holdings Financial services € 54 € 216
Dell Technologies Technology € 54 € 216
Vodafone tTelecommunications € 53 € 212
Edeka Retail € 50 € 200
Amazon Retail € 46t € 184
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Technology € 42 t€ 168
HP Technology € 42 € 168
Auchan Retail € 38 € 152
E.Leclerc Retail € 37 € 148
Imperial Tobacco Group Tobacco € 34 € 136
GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals € 33 € 132
Centrica Electric utility € 32 € 128
SSE Electric utility t€ 32 t€ 128
Sainsbury Retail € 30 € 120

Popular industries across Europe within the public trading sector belong to retail services followed by the financial sector.

UK retailers make up 5% of a 100 company list with revenues combined totaling €134 billion. Put into context, if Tesco were to heavily breach consumer data after 25th May 2018 they would receive a 4% fine, that fine would cost them €236 million (£294m). Up to nearly 300% more than the £74m TalkTalk figure.

The Wonga data breach earlier this year affected almost 245,000 customers in the UK, making the finance industry the most vulnerable due to large monetary-led data desired by hackers.

Internet service companies such as Google and Facebook may not top the number of retailers but as their business models rely on data collection; from search history to passwords, the data giants could face penalties of €312m and €96m, respectively.

Furthermore, all EU residents will be able to request any organisation trading in the EU to remove personal data from its database and businesses should start planning on how they will remain to be fully compliant and react to such requests and more.

Since Article 50 has not yet been triggered, the UK is still part of the EU and businesses must operate accordingly.

Methodology
The top public-trading global companies from various industries who currently trade within the EU were selected and compiled into a list sorted by highest global revenue. All global revenue [2016 – 2017] has been switched to Euros for consistency. All industry types have been aggregated to show which industry is most popular within the EU.

Sources:
https://www.talktalkgroup.com/dam/jcr:3ae87c83-4e84-4464-a9df-06dd76eb293d/TalkTalk%20Telecom%20Group%20PLC%20Annual%20Report%202016.pdf
https://www.retail-index.com/Countries.aspx
https://www.forbes.com/global2000/list/#country:United%20Kingdom

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