Data protection in the age of the zettabyte

29 Sep 2015

As the amount of data we produce continues to increase every year, the question of data protection becomes ever more important.

It is estimated that in 2015 we will produce a mindboggling one zettabyte of data – to put this in context, in 2009 the entire internet had accumulated 500 exabytes of data, and now we are set to produce double that in the space of just one year.

So the question of protecting the myriad amount of data that is now out there on the internet about us all is an important one, and is one that we in Ireland, in particular, need to be aware of.

Facebook, Google and Apple all have data centres in Ireland, which means that Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has the power, and responsibility, of auditing them, with the office being required to do an audit of Facebook following a court case take by Austrian student Max Schrems.

Schrems’ case related to the fact that Facebook sent his data out of Europe and to America with, as he saw it, little regard for his privacy, with an opinion from the European Court of Justice’s Advocate General Yves Bot last week coming down in Schrems’ favour.

The world of data protection is a complicated one that is evolving quickly – and one that is set to get more complicated as the amount of data we produce continues to increase and we enter the age of the internet of things (IoT), with Ireland’s DPC Helen Dixon saying that the IoT will prove a challenge for data regulators.

Helping to guide the readers of through the complicated maze of data protection law has been our weekly Tech Law column from experts in the field at Mason Hayes & Curran (MHC).

MHC has looked at the evolution of the law in this area and the different rules in different countries, and all their pieces on this important area can be read by scrolling through the articles at the top of this page.’s Data Science Week brings you special coverage of this rapidly growing field from 28 September to 2 October 2015. Don’t miss an entry worth your analysis by subscribing to our news alerts or following @siliconrepublic and the hashtag #DataScienceWeek on Twitter.

Tech Law is a weekly series brought to you by Irish law firm Mason Hayes & Curran, whose legal tech team advises the world’s top social media organisations and emerging start-ups. Check out for more.

Main image via Shutterstock

Brigid O Gorman is a former sub-editor of Silicon Republic.