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'Germany can't lecture us on data protection - fines are inevitable'

Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, tells Adrian Weckler that criticism from Germany is unsubstantiated. She also discusses why the rise of facial recognition might demand new laws

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Concerns: DPC Helen Dixon is wary of technology such as ‘smart’ front-door cameras. Photo: Adrian Weckler

Concerns: DPC Helen Dixon is wary of technology such as ‘smart’ front-door cameras. Photo: Adrian Weckler

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Concerns: DPC Helen Dixon is wary of technology such as ‘smart’ front-door cameras. Photo: Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler (AW): The German federal data commissioner, Ulrich Kelber, has repeatedly criticised this office in relation to big tech investigations, saying it is moving too slowly. How do you respond to such criticisms?

Helen Dixon (HD): The particular individual who is commenting there has a role specifically in public sector enforcement and has no experience in terms of the type of supervision that's being referenced.

I think anyone who understands the complexity of the new law, the novelty of this one-stop shop that's been created with the cooperation and consistency mechanisms, the fact that there are still independent national DPAs, and that the law in the GDPR has to be reconciled with those national laws - and yet also involve EU administrative law in terms of Article 60 [co-operation between national data protection authorities] - would understand that certainly the first time round, there are a lot of issues that need to be worked out.