Business Technology

Friday 23 August 2019

Helen Dixon re-appointed as Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner for second five-year term

Helen Dixon, Irish Data Protection Commissioner
Helen Dixon, Irish Data Protection Commissioner
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

IRELAND'S Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, has been re-appointed for a second five-year term.

The announcement was made by the government months before the expiry of her first term in the role.

The Irish data protection office has become one of the most powerful and influential in the world due to its pre-eminent role in regulating international tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, all of which have their European headquarters in Dublin.

Since the EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force a year ago, the Irish DPC office has opened 17 official inquiries into US-based tech multinationals in Ireland, including 12 in Facebook and its subsidiaries.

However, the watchdog has not yet issued any conclusions or penalties under GDPR, with the first adjudications due back later this summer.

“I welcome the Government’s early decision and announcement in relation to my reappointment as Commissioner for a second term,” said Ms Dixon.

“At this early but critical juncture of GDPR implementation and enforcement, continuity is important to drive clarity for organisations around the standards they must meet in order to effectively safeguard the data protection rights of service users, consumers and citizens.

“Our fellow EU data protection authorities count on us to effectively supervise the large internet platforms headquartered in Ireland and we are committed to this task.”

Ms Dixon was initially appointed to the office of the Irish DPC in 2014, succeeding Billy Hawkes.

She previously served as Irish Registrar of Companies after having held senior roles in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Inovation.

She spent the first ten years of her career in the IT industry.

“I am pleased to announce the Government’s approval for the reappointment of Helen Dixon as Data Protection Commissioner,” said Justice and Equality Minister Charlie Flanagan.

“Helen is internationally well regarded for her expertise in this area. This is a very important role as Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is the EU’s lead regulator for the many multinational companies based in this jurisdiction.

“I know that Helen is deeply committed to her role as Commissioner. She has launched a number of significant investigations into multinational companies’ alleged non-compliance with GDPR and it is crucial that she be allowed to see them through to completion.

“I look forward to engaging with her over the course of her second term.”

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