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Dublin: 6°C Thursday 25 February 2021

Ireland has a new data protection law... just hours before the EU's bumper new regulation comes into force

The new law will bring Ireland into line with GDPR just in time for the deadline of midnight tonight.

shutterstock_731624161 Source: Shutterstock

PRESIDENT HIGGINS HAS signed the Data Protection Bill 2018 into law – mere hours before the EU’s new all-encompassing data regulation takes force.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into being from midnight tonight, after several years in gestation.

It brings with it vastly heightened control over their own personal data for citizens (you can blame all those privacy policy emails you’ve been receiving on it as companies rush to get their houses in order), and hefty fines for companies that mistreat the information they hold on their customers.

A new data protection bill has been a necessity since GDPR was first announced, in order to bring Ireland’s laws in line with the overarching EU regulation.

That bill has been in the works since late last year. It was somewhat fast-tracked through the Oireachtas after its initial presentation in February, with the 25 May deadline in mind.

In its original guise, the bill came in for heightened criticism from privacy experts due to its seeming non-compliance with much of GDPR – for example, it initially provided that Irish state bodies be exempt from the eye-watering €20 million fines that are due to be handed out to institutions which breach the regulation.

Much of that criticism has been softened by the amendments the bill underwent before being approved by the Oireachtas, particularly in Dáil Éireann.

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