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Data value makes it 'new oil', says ex-Obama staffer


Michael Bahar at Dublin Data Sec 2018 yesterday

Michael Bahar at Dublin Data Sec 2018 yesterday

Michael Bahar at Dublin Data Sec 2018 yesterday

DATA is "like the new oil," according to the deputy legal adviser to former US President Barack Obama.

"Each country is saying "this is my data, you can't have it," said Michael Bahar, former general counsel to the US House Intelligence Committee.

Mr Bahar, now a partner at law firm Eversheds Sutherland, was speaking yesterday at the Dublin Data Sec 2018 conference at the RDS in Dublin.

"It is not just State versus State, it's banking system versus banking system, crucial infrastructure versus crucial infrastructure," said Mr Bahar, who specialises in cybersecurity and data protection issues, international law, and national security.

The Data Sec 2018 conference, an Independent News and Media event, was officially opened by Minister for State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen.

The conference's keynote speaker was Helen Dixon, the Data Protection Commissioner. She said that no organisation can afford to take the risk of not implementing the legislation the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation rules (GDPR) which come into force on May 25 next.

Under the regulations, businesses or organisations could face fines of up to €20m or 4pc of annual global turnover for non-compliance with the regulation, whichever is the highest figure, although the regulations also have a range of other measures for non compliance.

Ms Dixon said she is both "terrified and excited" in equal measure about the onset of (GDPR).

"The GDPR is specifically structured to place responsibility on organisations," said Ms Dixon, whose office is scoping out an investigation into a suspected data breach at INM.

"Sooner or later, failure to demonstrate and implement accountability will catch up with your organisation," said Ms Dixon.

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Mr Breen, who travels to Brussels today for EU Digital Day 2018, said the new data regime will provide Ireland with the robust data protection framework that is "essential to realising the enormous potential that digital technologies offer to our economy and society".

"We know that the GDPR brings changes and challenges for organisations and businesses of all sizes, but it is important that it is not regarded with fear," said the Minister, who will today sign a series of political declarations on Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and Innovation Radar.

Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet Networks, called on government assistance for small and medium businesses to help them cover the costs of implementing compliance with the legislation.

Sean Whelan, head of data protection at Paddy Power Betfair, told delegates that the bookmaker had been preparing for GDPR for more than a year.

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