Digital advocacy group challenges independence of Data Protection Commissioner

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28 January 2016 | 0

Digital advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) has said it instructed its lawyers to serve legal papers on the Irish Government that call into question the independence of the office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) under EU law.

In the statement DRI said its “case is that Ireland has failed to properly implement EU data protection law, or to follow the requirements of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by failing to ensure the Irish DPC is genuinely independent from the Government.”

The group said that Ireland’s position as the EU’s centre for technology multinational companies makes it critical for the protection of all EU citizens’ rights that the state has a world class data protection regulatory regime. However, the group says a series of cases from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) have stressed the critical importance of a truly independent data protection authority.

“Most recently, in the Schrems case on Safe Harbour, the lack of such an independent watchdog was cited as one of the most significant differences between the EU and US privacy systems,” said the statement.

“Ireland’s Data Protection Authority doesn’t meet the criteria set down by the EU case law for true independence,” said DRI.

“As the Irish government has refused to acknowledge this to date, we are turning to the courts to uphold Irish and EU citizen’s Fundamental Rights.”

 

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