Friday, 19 April 2013

Increase in Funding for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, has underlined the Government’s ongoing strong support for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

The Minister and the Government are acutely aware of the critical importance of the role of the Office of the Data Protection Commission in the development of the digital economy.

The Minister has already, in the context of the Budget allocations for 2013, made available significant additional supports and resources to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, which include:

• A 20% increase in the budget for the Office in 2013 (compared with 2012). This significant increase is noteworthy given that budgets for many public sector organisations have been reduced significantly, having regard to the current economic circumstances;

• Additional staffing resources which have been put in place including:

• Specialist staff including a Chief Technology Advisor and a legal advisor

• Additional administrative staff.

The Minister has also committed to providing whatever additional resources are necessary to enable the Data Protection Commissioner to continue to discharge the vital functions of his Office.

In the context of Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union, as part of its focus on the Digital Agenda, the Irish Presidency will work to reach agreement in the Council on key aspects of the data protection package. This is aimed at ensuring that citizens will have more control over their personal data.

Part of the data protection package includes proposals for a "one stop shop" data protection regime, i.e. where a multinational company is currently subject to the jurisdiction of multiple data protection authorities (DPAs), the proposed Regulation would provide for a multinational to be subject to a "one stop shop" single DPA working in close collaboration with other DPAs where services are being provided in different EU Member States. This is likely to have considerable implications for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland, including significant resourcing demands.