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Public views sought on data protection proposals

The Department of Justice is asking people to submit their views on the European Commission’s proposals to strengthen protections for individuals

Image: MelvinSchlubman via Creative Commons

THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE has launched a new public consultation process on EU data protection regulation proposals.

The European Commission proposes replacing the current Data Protection Directive, introduced in 1995 and transposed into Irish law in 2003, which lays out the standards of personal data protection and the transfer of this data both within the EU and to external states.

The Commission now wants to update data protection regulations to take account of technological advances since that directive came into effect, and says it wants to strengthen online privacy rights while supporting the growth of Europe’s digital economy.

It is proposing widening the definition of personal data to include information on location or online identifies and genetic data.

It also proposes increasing an individual’s control over their personal data by requiring explicit consent be given before personal data is processed and by establishing a new ‘right to be forgotten’ mechanism. That mechanism would give individuals the right to have their personal data deleted if an organisation has no legitimate reason for retaining that data.

The Commission also wants to see greater harmonisation of data protection rules across all member states.

Minister Alan Shatter has indicated that the government’s focus in the negotiations over the changes will be on ensuring protection for personal data while also ensuring the free flow of that data within the EU’s internal market and to external locations, subject to the appropriate safeguards.

The deadline for submissions to the public consultation on the Commission’s proposals is close of business on 30 March. Any submissions received are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and could be released in response to a third party application.

Submissions can be sent by post to Civil Law Reform Division, Department of Justice and Equality, Bishop’s Square, Redmond’s Hill, Dublin 2 or by email to dataprotectionproposals@justice.ie

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