‘Not The First Time Government Departments Have Run Afoul Of Data Protection Laws’

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Public Services Card; Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty

Further to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and Minister Regina Doherty publishing the Report of the Data Protection Commission on the Public Services Card last week…

And her department’s intention to challenge the DPC’s findings on the card based on “incredibly strong legal” advice

Dr Eoin O’Dell, a Fellow and Associate Professor at the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, wrote in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post:

The government’s misguided approach has the capacity to do great damage to Ireland’s reputation as a good location for international tech companies to establish their European headquarters.

A government in such open conflict with the DPC [Data Protection Commission] can have no credibility in seeking to ensure that such companies comply with the commission’s decisions.

Worse, it risks fostering the view that a company unhappy with an unfavourable DPC decision could seek government help to resist that decision.

…This is not the first time that government departments have run afoul of data protection laws.

In 2011, the commission found that blood samples from babies’ heel-prick tests were being unlawfully retained, but in 2013 the Minister for Health ordered the HSE not to comply with the commission’s determination.

The Department of Education has continued with its controversial plans, unveiled in 2014, to collect extensive profiles of all children in education and store that data until they turn 30, notwithstanding the commission’s misgivings.

Dealing from bottom of the deck on the Public Services Card (Eoin O’Dell, The Sunday Business Post)

Previously: The Regina Monologues

Rollingnews

32 thoughts on “‘Not The First Time Government Departments Have Run Afoul Of Data Protection Laws’

  1. eoin

    FG has now declared war on the Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon. With FF’s connivance, she is being hauled before the public accounts committee on Thursday this week, ostensibly to defend her budget, but she’s have her feet put to the coals for all sorts of issues. The message is, luv, don’t fupp with the government.

    1. Portroegirl

      To be fair the invitation to attend PAC was issued before release of DPC Report.
      According to article in Journal.ie :’ Top civil servant not attending Committee is ‘an affront to democracy’,the’ focus on meeting is DPC responsibility for EU wide data protection in respect of Facebook,Google, Twitter and whether or not her Office has adequate resources to do so.’
      Her Report into PSC may be mentioned also,the PSC Report is Module 1 Report, Module 2 Report to be finalized.
      DPER won’t attend PAC re PSC Report matters until after Budget!.
      DEASP won’t attend PAC until November!
      If you watched The Week in Politics you will have heard FF TD support for independence of Data Commissioner plus saying asking the Independent Data Commissioner meet with Minister DEASP was completely inappropriate as was Taoiseach mentioning that Data Commissioner declined to meet Minister DEASP during Leader’s Questions! Completely inappropriate to seek meeting with DPC to discuss legally binding findings of her Report, unbelievable!

      1. eoin

        To be fair, the government has had the draft report for 13 months.

        “saying asking the Independent Data Commissioner meet with Minister DEASP was completely inappropriate” – remember, Regina has had the draft report for 13 months and could have requested the meeting any time during that period before the final report was provided to her Department in August 2019. The request by Regina for a meeting is insulting in those circumstances.

        1. Portroegirl

          Look at my answer to Joe Small re ECJ previous findings re Independence of Data Protection Authorities of countries ….it’s absolutely inappropriate for Minister to MEET with Independent Data Commissioner over her legally binding findings.DEASP/Minister was given ample time to respond OFFICIALLY in WRITING to her findings but didn’t.
          Yes DPC sent confidential draft Report in July last year and granted DEASP several extensions to respond and finally sent DPC it’s response to Draft Report in November last year which unfortunately was 470 scanned pages(un-paginated) including 28 appendices.DPC had to request a searchable version.

  2. TheQ47

    I heard a radio ad this morning for the National Childcare Scheme. The ad says you need to register on mygov.ie. But to register on mygov.ie, you must have a PSC.

    There’s no mention in the ad of applying by post, without use of mygov.ie/PSC, which is an available option, albeit after January 2020 (online registration is available from end of October 2019).

    They have no shame.

    1. Cian

      All parents[1] must have a PSC to get child benefit.

      So all parents have a PSC.

      [1] at least one guardian of each child.

      1. Barry the Hatchet

        You don’t need a PSC to get child benefit. You need a PSC if you want to apply for child benefit online.

        1. Cian

          The Public Services Card (PSC) helps you to access a range of public services easily. Your identity is fully authenticated when it is issued so you do not have to give the same information to multiple organisations. A Public Services Card is usually issued when you are allocated a PPS number. If you apply for, or are currently getting a social welfare payment (including Child Benefit) you will be asked to register for your Public Services Card.

          http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Public-Services-Card_holder.aspx

          Welfare payments is literally the reason that the PSC was conceived.

      2. TheQ47

        Absolutely untrue, Cian. How would anyone who had children before the introduction of the PSC and whose children are still under 18 (e.g., me and my children) get their Child Benefit so?

        But we do get it in the name of Mrs TheQ47, and she’s never had nor used a PSC.

        1. Cian

          Interesting. Ms Cian was contacted about 2/3 years ago to register for a PSC to continue getting child benefit. I was under the impression that that applied to all guardians.

          Just curious, was Mrs TheQ47 asked to register?

          1. TheQ47

            Mrs TheQ47 was asked to apply for a PSC a few years ago, but she just ignored it. Still getting the Child Benefit, never had to get the PSC.

          2. Cian

            @TheQ47
            Just out of curiosity why did you write “How would anyone who had children before the introduction of the PSC and whose children are still under 18 (e.g., me and my children) get their Child Benefit so?” if you knew that Mrs TheQ47 was asked to apply for a card after the kids were registered?

    1. eoin

      The government is playing with fire. Shane Ross and Simon Coveney have submitted to the findings, in the sense they have removed the requirement of a PSC card in order to access driver documentation and passports.

      It’s expected the Commissioner will need resort to issuing an order to Regina by the end of this week. Regina says she will go to the Circuit Court to appeal it.If the Order isn’t complied with, the Commissioner can seek the court’s assistance in enforcing it. Could that lead to the committal of Regina?

      1. Rob_G

        Yeah, I’m sure she’ll be arrested and paraded through the streets in the stocks – seriously, how detached from reality are you?

      2. Joe Small

        I’m not sure some people here have much understanding of how our legal system works. Ministers can’t be arrester and/or imprisoned when their department is in legal disputes with other stator authorities. That’s not a sensible way of running a government or a legal system.

  3. V

    oh for the want of a good Prorogue

    They’ll probably have to make do with a reshuffle
    And say its Brexit Emergency planning

  4. Joe Small

    Two daft points from Eoin O’Dell above.

    1. “A government in such open conflict with the DPC [Data Protection Commission] can have no credibility in seeking to ensure that such companies comply with the commission’s decisions”

    So the Government must agree with every pronouncement unquestioningly from the DPC to maintain credibility?!

    2. “This is not the first time that government departments have run afoul of data protection laws.”

    Of course it isn’t. Governments and their agencies all over the world have our medical details, our taxation records, our passport applications – all sorts of personal data. of course governments are going to breach data protection laws at some stage. Its inevitable really.

    1. Portroegirl

      The ECJ not only deals with Governments data protection breaches but also issues affecting independence of Data Protection Authorities!
      ‘The Independent status of Data Protection Authorities ensures that the body concerned can act completely freely, without taking any instructions or being put under pressure.! Independence precludes not only any external influence including that of the State,etc ….but also any directions or other external influence which could call into question the performance of those Authorities’ in their duties’!…ECJ has stated in decisions!

      1. Joe Small

        1. The ECJ is now know as the CJEU.
        2. I never mentioned that court.
        3. The CJEU is not relevant to my argument.
        4. Were you even replying to my comment as nothing you say is remotely applicable?

        1. Portroegirl

          I was answering the 2 points you made re Data Commissioner: talking as if her legally binding findings are optional ,and talking about Governments breaching Data Protection laws as if there’s no consequencesl!
          By the way since Treaty of Lisbon on 1/12/09 ECJs official name was changed Court of Justice of the European Communities to the ‘Court of Justice’ but still can be referred to in English as ECJ.My comment is an absolutely relevant comment!
          CJEU now officially consists of ECJ& the General Court.

  5. Hector Ramirez

    if the HSE are doing what they want and the Dept of Education are doing what they want for years, whats the DEASP worried about. What’s the point of this country…

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