The Government has announced a range of measures aimed at ensuring that Ireland’s approach to data protection in the digital economy is ‘best in class’ internationally.

The proposed roadmap seeks to underline the independent role of the Data Protection Commissioner, with notable reforms including:

  • giving the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner its own vote;
  • the establishment of a Dublin office of the Data Protection Commissioner in addition to its current base in Portarlington; and
  • the formation of an Interdepartmental Committee on data and technology issues to encourage wider dialogue in the area.

The measures are in line with wider reforms to data protection legislation across the EU in light of the surge in personal data usage and technology in recent years, with the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation set to strengthen and streamline data protection rules in Europe in an effort to tackle the challenges of globalisation and new technologies.

On the Irish stage, the reforms are also in line with the Data Protection Commissioner’s Statement of Strategy for 2014-2016, which lists improving levels of public awareness regarding data protection rights and responsibilities and contributing to the development of international data protection standards amongst its medium-term goals.