Friday

19th Jan 2018

Irish data office struggling to cope with EU demands

The data protection office (DPC) in crisis-hit Ireland might need to hire more staff to cope with the demands of an upcoming EU privacy law.

Ireland is the EU headquarters of some of the world's largest Internet companies, including Facebook and Google.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It is also one of three EU countries, along with Greece and Portugal, currently being drip-fed bailout money to help balance its books.

Billy Hawkes, Ireland's data protection supervisor, told EU justice and home commissioner Viviane Reding on Monday (24 September) that data protection authorities will need additional resources to "carry out their broader European oversight responsibilities."

"This is a key issue for us due to the large number of multinational companies handling personal data that have substantial operations in Ireland," he said.

The draft regulation is scheduled for final review next summer under the upcoming Irish EU presidency, which has said data protection will be one of its key priorities.

The bill calls for a single national data protection authority in each EU member state to prevent overlap and industry-wide abuse.

Both Ireland and Germany, for instance, reached similar conclusions in a recent case to ban Facebook from using face-recognition software.

Ireland received all the complaints from across Europe because Facebook has its European office there, the Irish Times reports.

In theory, the new EU law would have prevented the two separate authorities from spending resources to reach the same conclusion.

Specifically, the regulation calls for a single national authority to carry out investigations, take binding decisions, impose sanctions and deal with complaints. Each national watchdog is also to work with other member states to ensure rules are consistently enforced.

But Hawke's office told EUobserver the mandatory data breach notification requirement would entail additional work.

The regulation requires companies and organisations to notify the DPC of any serious breaches within 24 hours if possible.

"Equally, if we are lead regulator for companies providing services to a large number of citizens in the EU then we will be required to investigate complaints from such persons as well as Irish residents," said a Hawke spokesperson.

She noted they are currently hiring a technology advisor but would not specify how many additional staff members they would need to handle the extra work.

The case is now with the Irish government, which is examining the additional resources that will be required by Hawke's office.

The DPC has a staff of 22, seven of whome investigating officers and three are compliance officers.

France, in comparison, has a total staff of over 140 and Germany just under 100 on federal level as well as at least another hundred dispersed across its 16 landes.

The DPC told this website in an email that "offices in other MS [member states] are proportionate to the size of their population and ours is proportionately equivalent to those."

For its part, civil liberties group Privacy International (PI) ranked Ireland’s data protection laws in a EU-wide survey in 2010 as some of the lowest in Europe.

"Ireland, alongside the UK has the lowest overall rating in Europe, Turkey excluded, including one of the lowest on statutory protection and enforcement," a consumer rights advocate and campaigner at PI said.

She commended the DPC's recent decision to ban Facebook from using its face-snapping software, however.

Rights NGOs face fresh threats in EU

While ongoing crackdowns in Poland and Hungary have put the spotlight on rights groups, NGOs are now under new political and financial pressure across the EU, the Fundamental Rights Agency said.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia