Business Irish

Friday 20 January 2017

EU commissioner to hold tech firm data protection talks

Sean Duffy

Published 10/11/2016 | 02:30

Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon
Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon

The EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, is to meet Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon in Dublin today.

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Ms Jourová is scheduled to attend a session organised by employers' group Ibec meeting where she will speak with senior tech industry representatives.

Ms Jourova is expected to reiterate the need for robust data protection practices, while also addressing the issue of online hate crime.

Ms Jourová will also speak about the importance of diversity in the digital economy and digital contracts.

During her trip, Ms Jourová will also meet Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, and European Affairs, Digital Single Market and Data Protection Minister Dara Murphy.

She will attend a round-table meeting with members of the National Women's Council of Ireland, and will discuss consumer issues with representatives from consumer organisations.

Ms Jourová is a Czech native who has served as Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality since 2014.She previously worked as a consultant for a number of countries within the EU. One of her primary aims is to ensure the adoption of EU data protection reform.

The EU's cybersecurity directive came into to force in August of this year and requires member states to be appropriately equipped to deal with cyber threats through the establishment of a national authority to oversee tech security.

Ireland currently houses nine out of the top ten tech firms in the world, and any breaches to their systems would have to be reported to Ms Dixon's office, making the Irish regulator one of the most important watchdogs in the EU.

The Data Protection Commissioner has been awarded €7.5m, an increase of almost €3m on this year's total.

Ms Dixon's probe into Facebook in 2015 resulted in the company allowing users to opt out of certain online advertisements.

Ms Dixon has also probed the legality of so-called "model contract clauses", which are data transfer protocols relied upon by many businesses in their transactions with US firms.

The case is set to be heard in the High Court in February and may well be referred to the European Court of Justice.

Ms Jourová and Ms Dixon will likely take the opportunity to address issues surrounding the case during the visit.

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