Two new data protection commissioners appointed

Two new data protection commissioners appointed

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has expanded with the appointment of Dr Des Hogan and Dale Sunderland as data protection commissioners for a five-year term.

The pair will take up their roles from 20 February 2024, the day after incumbent data protection commissioner Helen Dixon steps down to join the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).

Dr Hogan has been assistant chief state solicitor in the Office of the Chief State Solicitor since 2015. He previously held a number of senior positions in the Irish Human Rights Commission, including acting chief executive from 2012 to 2014.

Prior to that, he worked for the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and for Amnesty International in Australia and at its international secretariat in London.

He is a qualified solicitor and holds a PhD in law from Trinity College Dublin as well as a Master’s in European law from UCD.

Mr Sunderland joined the DPC in 2016 as a deputy commissioner and played a central role in building its capacity as a leading global regulator in the context of an expanded remit under the GDPR.

He has been a deputy commissioner at director level since June 2022, with a leading role in the supervision of global social media and internet companies based in Ireland. He previously worked for the Department of Justice in various roles from 2002 to 2016.

Commenting on the appointments, justice minister Helen McEntee said: “The Data Protection Commission has played a pioneering role in enforcing the GDPR across Europe as the lead supervisory authority for a large number of technology and internet platform companies with EU headquarters in Ireland.

“The two new commissioners will support an effective and well-resourced, highly-skilled regulator. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has responsibility for a significant body of work. In recent years as GDPR and protection of personal data have moved into mainstream public consciousness, the DPC has seen its workload increase in all areas of the organisation.

“85 per cent of the fines issued across Europe last year, including the EU, EEA, and UK, were issued by the DPC on foot of detailed and comprehensive investigations. This underlines both the DPC’s significant role, and positive record of effective and robust data regulation.

“The government values the DPC’s important and independent role as one of the largest EU data protection authorities and acknowledges its strong track record in carrying out its duties.”

She added: “I would like to thank Helen for the dedication, strength and vision she has shown throughout her time as data protection commissioner. Under her stewardship, the Data Protection Commission’s size and remit has expanded significantly and is currently staffed with some 222 employees.

“Helen has led the organisation through this expansion and navigated an evolving data protection landscape following the enactment of the GDPR in May 2018.

“I wish Helen well in her new role as commissioner in the Commission for Communications Regulation.”

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