STATEMENT – Recommendations in Justice Committee Report on GDPR must be implemented without delay

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Green Party Spokesperson for Justice and TD for Dublin South-Central, Deputy Patrick Costello, has called on the Minister for Justice to urgently implement the recommendations put forward in the Oireachtas Justice Committee’s report on GDPR. The report, published today, makes recommendations in a number of key areas including the delays in processing complaints of data breaches, the need to clarify procedural law used by the Data Protection Commission (DPC) when handling complaints, and the need for better general enforcement of GDPR.

Speaking on the matter, Deputy Costello said: “I have raised concerns on several occasions that our DPC is not equipped with the funding and resources to effectively investigate concerns about personal privacy and data protection and to keep pace with the growing volume of their workload. Today’s report, published by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, confirms that Ireland’s implementation of GDPR fails to adequately support citizens that wish to pursue cases of data breaches and makes clear the need for better general enforcement of GDPR and the need for more staff qualified in the relevant areas.

“Ireland is the single most important DPC in all of Europe and the roadblock to meaningful enforcement of GDPR due to the majority of big tech firms being based here including Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Considering the sheer amount of data we all create in today’s world, ensuring the efficient enforcement of data protection is too serious a matter to get wrong. However, the report makes clear that the DPC is completely under-funded and under-resourced, echoed only recently by the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union who issued an opinion that a data protection complaint against Facebook does not only have to be taken to the Irish DPC, but instead that all data protection authorities across the EU may take a case against the social media giant. This does not bode well for Ireland’s reputation for handling GDPR complaints.

“It is vital that the Minister for Justice implements the report’s recommendations without delay if we are to ensure that our DPC is in anyway fit-for-purpose to deal with the seriousness and complexity of the work it is required to do. There can be no flexibility or half-hearted measures when ensuring protection of data of EU citizens. The scale of the responsibility Ireland has as the home to big tech companies is unprecedented and one that needs to be treated with the utmost seriousness,” concluded Deputy Costello.