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Enforcer: Helen Dixon has warned that her office must tread carefully to avoid lengthy appeals

Enforcer: Helen Dixon has warned that her office must tread carefully to avoid lengthy appeals

Enforcer: Helen Dixon has warned that her office must tread carefully to avoid lengthy appeals

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner says a preliminary ruling on a Twitter data breach will now be subject to a majority decision in Europe after objections were raised by other EU regulators.

Twitter had looked set to become the first big technology company to face a fine by Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) under tougher EU data protection rules after it submitted the decision to other member states in May.

"A number of objections were raised by CSAs [concerned supervisory authorities] and the DPC engaged in a consultation process with them," said Graham Doyle, deputy commissioner at the Irish DPC.

As a number of objections were maintained, the DPC has now referred the matter to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), he said.

The EDPB now has one month to reach a two-thirds majority among member states and if that fails, a further month to seek an absolute majority. If it still can't find agreement, the chair of the board will cast the deciding vote.

The Twitter ruling relates to a bug in its Android app where some users' protected tweets were made public, and whether it notified the regulator in a timely manner. The DPC had 20 other probes open into big technology firms at the end of 2019.

Under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation's (GDPR) "One-Stop Shop" regime introduced in 2018, regulators can impose fines of up to 4pc of a company's global revenue or €20m, whichever is higher.

A separate enquiry into WhatsApp has been sent to Facebook for a formal submission process.

The Irish DPC office has faced criticism from some European privacy advocates and regional regulators for being too slow in enforcing GDPR rules against major tech firms based in Ireland.

But Helen Dixon's office has warned that it must tread carefully when dealing with enforcement, or decisions will get bogged down longer in appeals.

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Ireland hosts the European headquarters of a number of US tech companies, making its the EU's lead regulator for firms including Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Google.

But it must share its preliminary decision with all concerned EU supervisory authorities and consider their views in its final verdict.

Additional reporting: Reuters


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