European Court of Justice fines Spain €15 million over EU data protection rule failures

The EU’s highest court has fined Spain €15 million ($18.34 million) for failing to comply with a European data protection directive governing the protection of personal data during police investigations within the country.

The EU introduced the Law Enforcement Directive alongside the General Data Protection Regulation in 2016, governing how authorities process personal data for the purposes of the prevention and detection of criminal offences. 

Countries had until May 5, 2018 to transpose the Law Enforcement Directive into law but Spain failed to meet this target. 

Spain persisted in its failure to fulfil its obligations, with the court noting that it had still not adopted nor notified the measures necessary to ensure the transposition of the directive into Spanish law by May 6 2020.

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The EU’s top court found the country guilty of failing to meet its legal requirements and demanded that Spain pay a fine of €15 million, as well as a further €89,000 ($108,810) every day the country failed to implement the legislative act.

There was not an individual accusation of a data privacy breach or failure but the court still accepted that the wider behavior of the country showed it had “failed to fulfil its obligations.”

The Spanish government and its Justice Ministry has not yet commented on the court’s judgement. However, officials have previously claimed that they only failed to implement the measures because of the elections that took place in 2019 and the challenges the country faced in forming a new government.

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