Thursday 17 October 2019

Data watchdog Dixon gets five more years as second term approved

Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon. Photo: Frank McGrath
Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon. Photo: Frank McGrath
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

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

The announcement was confirmed by the Justice and Equality Minister Charlie Flanagan before the expiry of her current term.

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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 Companies Registrar having held senior roles in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. She spent the first 10 years of her career in the IT industry.

Irish Independent

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