The German „Fines Catalogue” – effectiveness and dissuasion at the cost of proportionality?

In order to facilitate a uniform interpretation of the GDPR and provide a transparent calculation methodolody for fines the German Conference of the Independent Federal and State Data Protection Aufhorities (DSK) has published the so called „Fines Catalogue” in October 2019. This catalogue provides a complex calculation method for fines, which takes the size and the aggregate global annual turnover of the company and based on those determines a „daily rate” that is then being assiged to a multiplier based on the severity of the offence. The paper analyzes whether this calculation method meets the requirements of Art. 83, in particular whether it adheres to the principle of proportionality. It mainly questions whether basing the calculation on the companies turnover creates fair results for undertakings with low profir margins and whether it allows for the individual circumstances of each case, as laid out in Art. 83, to be sufficiently taken into account.