“GDPR complaints in the trash”: Criticism of Ireland’s data protection officer

"GDPR complaints in the trash": Criticism of Ireland's data protection officer

The country’s data protection commissioner clashed with data protection activists during a hearing in the Irish parliament on GDPR. Austrian Max Shrems called for urgent reform of the country’s data protection authority, while Johnny Ryan of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) complained that “planned violations of fundamental rights” had not been investigated. Data Protection Officer Helen Dixon dismissed the criticism and spoke of “exaggerated” and “simple” allegations. The Judicial Committee hearing is part of the country’s GDPR review in 2021.

The Irish Data Protection Authority plays an important role in enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because Internet companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have European headquarters in the country. As a result, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has jurisdiction over data protection allegations against them, but over time it has become less and less biased. It is slowing down the major international measures it has initiated, and growing impatience and dissatisfaction in other countries where GDPR is applicable. There was a recent request from the European Union Parliament to expedite the investigation.

Ryan has now explained the DPC’s action to members of parliament Can have an impact on Ireland’s reputation and economy. Of the 196 actions taken by the Authority in the last three years, it has taken only four decisions. DPC is said to have failed in 98% of cases of European significance. The situation is even worse for Shrems: the DPC’s defense that they do not have to make a decision in all cases means that they can trash complaints. Despite more than 10,000 complaints last year, the authority plans only six to seven decisions. 99.93 percent ended up in the trash.

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Dixon blocked harsh criticism, reminding them that the two decisions were not the same. Both critics scratch the surface and sometimes exaggerate. The notion that one deliberately refuses to control is wrong, The Independent newspaper quoted. For example, Ryan was asked to provide two other data protection officers. Shrems, meanwhile, warned that Dixon’s colleagues in Spain would make five to six decisions a day with comparable resources. In Austria, decisions have to be made within six months, despite the lack of money.


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