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Public authorities may be fined up to 4% of their operating license when found to be in violation of the new EU Data Protection Regulation.

A majority in the Parliament will punish public authorities along with private companies when the new EU Data Protection Regulation comes into force.

On Thursday last week, a broad majority agreed that municipalities and other public authorities could be fined up to 16 million if they do not treat CPR numbers and other sensitive data properly.

The new EU Data Protection Regulation from May 2016 tightens the requirements for the protection of personal data. It has become clear that private companies that do not meet the data protection requirements are subject to financial penalties in the form of fines. But whether and how public authorities are affected by sanctions has been unclear.

In the bill discussed on Thursday, it is still not clear how the sanctions should be made, besides stating that public authorities should also be penalized with up to four percent of their operating appropriations, though with a ceiling of DKK 16 million.

In connection with the drafting of the bill, Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen said: “You don’t necessarily have to be fined. One might well imagine that, as today, violations are sanctioned by orders from the Data Inspectorate.”

And “only when this order is possibly violated will there be fines,” the Minister of Justice said according to Altinget.dk.

Social Democratic mayor Trine Bramsen agrees that there is reason to tighten up, but she is concerned that sanctions and fines will have consequences for the weakest citizens: “There must be consequences when public institutions do not process citizens’ data properly. But we are concerned that large fines for an elderly administration that have been sloppy with the data could end up going beyond the home care of the community’s weakest,” she said, according to Altinget.dk.

Radical was the only party that did not support Thursday’s proposals for a new law on data protection.

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