Consumers still not well aware of importance of privacy protection
Speaking at the event hosted by the Information Commissioner, the head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia Zoran Stančič said that the GDPR had brought the strictest rules possible, which the EU should be proud of. The rules brought by the regulation are already bearing fruit, he added.
Information Commissioner Mojca Prelesnik added that the results were very clear, as the office had received 598 reports related to the protection of personal information between 25 May 2018, when the GDPR entered into force, and the end of the year.
In the same period in 2017, the number of reports stood at 290, while the number of cases launched by the inspection services increased by 57% to 1,029, she added.
Prelesnik stressed that the panic ahead of the introduction of the regulation had been unwarranted, while adding that there were fields where there was a lot of room for improvement. One of these are free services which users "pay" with their personal information.
Lenart J. Kučić, a technology reporter for the newspaper Delo, said that one of the reasons some companies did not follow the rules was not that internet giants were not afraid of fines. Every large company weighs between the benefits brought by violations and the size of penalty for these violations, he added.
According to him, the threats related to violations of rights in the field of personal information protection are still rather intangible, which is why consumers do not appreciate the right to privacy enough.
Deputy Information Commissioner Alenka Jerše added that the main challenge is making consumers kick the habit of automatically clicking that they agreed with all offered personal information protection possibilities.
"What raises awareness the most are, unfortunately, severe forms of abuse, which leak into the media," said Jerše, while Zoran Savin of Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Slovenia stressed that technological novelties needed to be a part of the solution.
According to Savin, the good sides of the regulation, which "allows us to supervise a comprehensive set of personal information, which had never been possible in history", should be emphasised more. "It is an immense opportunity, which is not being utilised enough."
Matjaž Jakin of the Slovenian Consumer Association (ZPS), which is the body responsible for advising consumers in this field, said that the ZPS had not received many requests for assistance.
Jakin attributes this to consumers being well informed, but the association has also found that there is still too little actual awareness about how important the protection of personal information really is.
Also presented at the event was the 2019 Ambassador of Privacy award, which went to the ZPS. The Information Commissioner Office said that the association had been consistently and devotedly protecting the interests of consumers in all fields.
The ZPS participates in the detection of unfair practices and warns about the traps in the use of the internet, while its work also affects how companies deal with consumer protection, it added.