Seven MEPs will fly to Dublin to discuss the implementation of European data protection law with Irish regulators, policymakers and stakeholders.
The excursion is being organized by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), which has led work on the issue in the European Parliament. It will last for two days from September 21 to 23.
“The mission will focus on the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] And include visits and meetings with the Data Protection Officer, big tech companies and other stakeholders,” read an internal email seen by EURACTIV.
The draft programme, also available to EURACTIV, does not yet detail with whom MPs will meet, as MPs are asked to provide written feedback. However, it also includes meetings with NGOs, lawyers, academics, big tech and start-ups, as well as the Judiciary Committee of the Irish Parliament.
An informed source said the participants addressing the MPs would be the “usual suspects” involved in Ireland’s privacy debate, such as Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) senior officer Jonny Ryan.
The Committee has legitimate concerns about the application of Ireland’s General Data Protection Regulation. “Ireland’s enforcement deficit has crippled the EU’s ability to regulate big tech,” said ICCL’s Ryan, one of the fiercest critics of Ireland’s data protection regulator.
On the final day of the visit, MEPs will meet with Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon. The Irish Data Protection Authority has been at the center of controversy surrounding delays in applying the EU data protection regime, as most big tech companies fall under their jurisdiction.
“If Helen Dixon doesn’t want to come to LIBE, LIBE will come to Helen Dixon,” a European Parliament official told EURACTIV, noting that Commissioner Dixon asked the committee last year to answer allegations about its actions. A previous argument. However, she declined to participate this time due to the format of the session.
Furthermore, this mission is intended as a follow-up to the resolution adopted by the European Parliament in March 2021. It slammed the DPA for trying to pass on legal costs to victims in the landmark Schrems II case and called on the commission to launch infringement proceedings against Ireland for failing to implement the GDPR.
The list of MEPs has not yet been confirmed but is expected to include Birgit Sippel for the Social Democrats and Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield for the Greens.
In fact, the name of conservative MEP Axel Voss, who has been a vocal critic of the General Data Protection Regulation, also floated. However, he will not be able to attend due to commitments in Germany, EURACTIV reported.
MEPs want to “keep pressure” on Ireland’s data protection authority to speed up compliance by big tech companies, according to another MEP.
Indeed, this task may come at a critical time for European data protection laws. On July 7, the Data Protection Commissioner sent a draft statement to his colleagues, saying that social media companies Facebook and Instagram should no longer transfer data to the United States. National authorities were given one month to submit their comments.
[Bearbeitet von Nathalie Weatherald]
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