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Data Protection Commission launches new investigation over Public Services Card

The Public Services Card was brought in in 2011.

Image: DPER

THE DATA PROTECTION Commission (DPC) has launched a new investigation into the Public Services Card (PSC).

The investigation concerns allegations that the database which underpins the whole PSC system is being unlawfully used by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The PSC itself was introduced in 2011 in a bid to decrease welfare fraud in the State. Over three million have been issued to date. 

In August 2019, the Data Protection Commission announced the findings of a landmark report into legality of the card. It found there was no legal basis for the card to be mandatory for anything other than welfare.

The Government is currently challenging those findings in the courts. 

Deputy data protection commissioner, Graham Doyle, confirmed that the DPC is “in receipt of a complaint regarding the alleged processing by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform of the database underpinning the PSC”.

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Doyle said this handling of information “likely involves the processing of the Public Service Identity dataset, SAFE Level 2 registration data and possibly other personal data through the Single Customer View (SCV), and MyGovID”.

As a result of this complaint, the commission decided to launched an investigation. 

Doyle said: “The DPC has decided to examine the role of DPER in any processing activities undertaken via the SCV and MyGovID and the extent to which DPER complies with any obligations it may have for this processing under the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.”

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