Privacy group launches action over data protection commissioner’s independence

Digital Rights Ireland has said it will serve papers on the State and the Attorney General of Ireland in the next few days in a challenge over the independence of Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner.

The data privacy group argues Ireland has failed to properly implement EU data protection law or to follow the requirements of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by failing to ensure the commissioner is “genuinely independent”.

It pointed out that commissioner’s office is integrated with the Department of Justice and her employees are civil servants.

The group has instructed its lawyers to start the legal proceedings.

In a statement, a DRI spokesperson said: “Ireland’s DPC has a key role in Europe’s data protection landscape.

“From our 2014 case overturning data retention to the Schrems case, to the Microsoft v USA warrant case Ireland is the critical jurisdiction for the protection for the rights of citizens across the EU.

“Ireland’s Data Protection Authority doesn’t meet the criteria set down by the EU case law for true independence.

“As the Irish government has refused to acknowledge this to date, we are turning to the courts to uphold Irish and EU citizen’s Fundamental Rights.”

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