Irish data breaches spawn privacy forum

22 May 2008

In light of recent data breaches involving large organisations, including Bank of Ireland and the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, the Irish Computer Society has created the ICS Privacy Forum, an independent body that aims to keep professionals in this space up to date with data protection legislation and also best practice.

“Amid the turmoil around data protection breaches, the Irish Computer Society has created this forum to address the need for individuals to keep informed of best practice and current legislation concerning privacy and the treatment of personal information,” said Jim Friars, CEO of the ICS.

The Privacy Forum will work in conjunction with the Data Protection Commissioner’s office by complementing it with its own training programmes.

“I think there is a need for education in this space. Last year we introduced certification but it is vital to keep current and while the Data Protection Commissioner’s site is an excellent resource, this is an opportunity for security professionals to discuss topical issues amongst themselves,” said Tom O’Sullivan, professional services manager for the ICS.

“This is an opportunity for the Data Protection Commissioner to engage with a whole group of professionals at one time, rather than only engaging with companies as problems arise.”

This independent group will hold seminars and workshops and provide online resources. It will be headed by a steering committee.

The committee, which will be chosen over the coming weeks, will draw on a cross section of interested professionals from both public and private bodies, as well as legal consultants in this area.

The Privacy Forum will be officially launched on 27 May 2008 at 6pm at the Irish Computer Society headquarters in Dublin 2, with an inaugural speech by Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes.

By Marie Boran