Tuesday 17 September 2019

Data Protection office budget grows by 800pc

Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) Helen Dixon
Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) Helen Dixon

Cormac McQuinn and Fiona Dillon

THE Budget for the Data Protection Commission (DPC) has grown by 800pc in recent years, the Dáil’s spending watchdog has been told.

Department of Justice boss Aidan O’Driscoll has told TDs that it has received “significant additional resourcing” to build its capacity and capability.

The Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was told the increased funding was to prepare the DPC for enhanced regulatory powers and a more prominent international role under the EU’s GDPR data protection laws.

The committee was told that the DPC’s budget allocation has increased from €1.9m in 2014 to €15.2m this year.

Mr O’Driscoll said the higher Budget has facilitated the recruitment of additional staff, including legal, technical, audit and investigations specialists.

He said the current resource levels will enable the DPC to continue “to build the organisation’s knowledge and capability in the performance of its expanded statutory role, as an EU-wide regulator and lead supervisory authority for the large multi-national technology companies, many of whom have their European headquarters in Ireland.”

Yesterday the justice committee heard that the DPC will boost staffing levels from 135 to 160 by the end of this year to cope with a sharp increase in workload volumes.

Deputy Commissioner  Anna Morgan said that GDPR, which came into application on 25 May last year has brought about “transformative changes” to the data protection regulation system.

She said that there has been a “significant increase in complaints and queries received by the DPC between May and December last year, with more complaints received in that seven month period than for the full year of 2017.

The DPC commenced 15 statutory inquiries last year under the GDPR in relation to the multinational technology sector. A further 33 domestic statutory inquiries were also commenced during 2018, examining issues including the use of CCTV by local authorities.

“It is expected that the majority of these inquiries will be concluded during 2019,” Ms Morgan told the committee.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News