Data Protection Commission gets extra €1.2m in Budget 2016

16 Oct 2015

Additional funding of €1.2m has been made available to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) as part of the announcement of Budget 2016.

The office, headed by Helen Dixon, has become increasingly vital over the past number of years with many of the major tech companies in the world establishing bases of operations here and, particularly, basing their enormous data centres, two of which will be created by Apple and Facebook.

Due to these factors, it seems, the Government felt it necessary to increase its annual funding by 25pc to an annual total of €4.7m in Budget 2016 — nearly four times as much as was provided to it in Budget 2014, when it amounted to €1.89m.

Not only is it expecting more in the way of data protection concerns from multinational companies (MNCs), but the office has been in the spotlight recently due to the conclusion of the Safe Harbour case brought against it by Austrian law student Max Schrems.

The case, which argued the legality of allowing 4,500 US companies to send EU citizens data transfers back to the US, where it could then potentially be accessed by US authorities, saw the European Commission (EC) rule the practice as illegal.

The DPC will now have to fully investigate the previous claims brought by Schrems against Facebook.

Announcing the new funding, Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection, Dara Murphy TD, said that the funding was “to ensure that Ireland continues to have an excellent regulatory and enforcement regime for data protection, and that we are fully equipped to adapt to the ever-increasing pace of change in the digital economy”.

He continued: “The Government has set out a clear roadmap for the future of data protection in Ireland, that will both protect the rights of our citizens and enhance the opportunities for secure, quality employment in the ever-widening range of digital industries.”

Data protection image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic