GDPR: Google fine could lead to corporate structure changes

Author: Olly Jackson | Published: 25 Jan 2019

The record €50 million fine for Google, the first-ever significant enforcement action under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), has unsettled tech companies with complicated structures. Some are increasingly concerned about the risk of high fines, which could see them needing to refinance.

"People expect high standards of transparency and control from us," a Google spokesperson told IFLR. "We’re deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR. We’re studying the decision to determine our next steps."

Rather than bringing a case in the location of Google’s headquarters, Ireland, the case was brought by regulator CNIL in France, where its decision centre is based.

"A fine may occur in a jurisdiction where an organisation does not make sufficient profit," said Tim Ritchie, GDPR consultant at Trig Consulting. "To pay it, the global organisation may need to refinance in a way that attracts the attention of other...