ICO intends to fine BA and Marriott (£183m and £99m)

Share This Post

This week the ICO has published statements on its intentions to fine British Airways £183m and Marriott Hotels £99m for breaches of GDPR.

But before everyone gets excited about the size of the fines, remember these are just “intentions” to fine, not actual fines. So, so far BA and Marriott have not been fined. They now have an opportunity to argue with the ICO about their cases and the level of fine, plus, the other data protection authorities (other EU “ICO”s) get to have their say too, not least of all to ensure a level enforcement playing field.

The other thing to note is that at this point we have no fine detail about the enforcement by the ICO. We can only go on what the statements include which for the BA case related to the website hack that lead to half a million customers being stolen and in the case of Marriott a cyber security incident. On the face of it therefore both relate to security issues/failings. But, what we don’t have is any insight (often written up in enforcement notices) of what the ICO are thinking, where the GDPR fits into it in terms of enforcement and indeed why the ICO believe the action they have taken is proportionate.

At this point therefore we can’t really tell why the fines are so high other than for the BA case we know that £183m is about 1.5% of turnover, so maybe here the key learning is that the ICO is looking at the their (GDPR-given) ability to issue percentages of turnover rather than put a price per head type fine, but we don’t know for sure. What’s particularly interesting is the Marriott incident affected significantly more than the 500k data subjects affected by the BA breach.

But, wow, what a way to start enforcing GDPR than with two enormous fines. Until now, despite the GDPR being in force for just over a year, we’ve not had any GDPR enforcement in the UK, and with the exception of the Google €50m fine by the French regulator last year, most other enforcements across the EU have been in the hundreds of thousands rather than the millions. So, not only will these possibly be the first UK GDPR fines to be issued but have the potential to be the largest across the EU.

Whether these statements are just a way for the ICO to show they can flex their muscles, whether we’ll actually see these fines come to fruition or whether this is the ICO stamping the UK”s GDPR credentials ahead of Brexit, I’ll leave the reader to decide. But whatever you do, what this space, because we’ve got some learning (and insight into the mind of the ICO) yet to come.

More To Explore


The key message from the ICO regarding the use of AI is not to forget if AI is processing personal data, then you need to

Read More »

Eat. Sleep. GDPR. Repeat.

We live and breathe GDPR and ePrivacy compliance, so you don’t have too. Our GDPR UNLIMITED helpline is all about offering you help and support, whenever you need it most. As well as the unlimited helpline, you get up to 4 hours “hands-on” help each month, which we can configure to help you in anyway you need such as a GDPR review, or acting as your DPO.

As well as the unlimited helpline and hands-on help you get GDPR and privacy updates, access to our GDPR knowledge centre and webinars.

Unlimited email & phone support

Unlimited email and phone support. Email or organise a voice call as often as you need each month.​

Up to 4 hours "hands-on" help per month

We use these "hands-on" hours to do the GDPR work for you, such as reviews, acting as your DPO, checking DPIA, dealing with breaches, training your staff, etc. (Additional hours: £100+VAT per hour)

Online resources

Our Knowledge Centre gives you access to information, guidance, topic related guides and other tools to support your GDPR and PECR compliance

Updates, alerts & briefings

We provide updates and alerts and a monthly compliance briefing. You can either sign into the Knowledge Centre or sign up via email to receive an email every time we add a new update or alert

DPO services

Whether mandated or not we can act as your Data Protection Officer (DPO) and manage your day to day compliance

Webinars, workshops & training

Whether updates on the latest issue, workshops or team training, it's all included in your monthly retainer.

LIKE WHAT YOU'RE READING? join our email list

Sign up for monthly briefings and the occasional emails about our webinars and services

Want to know more about how we use your data? Check out our privacy policy