Saturday 25 May 2019

Bins returned to GPO after An Post reassured that litter is not in breach of GDPR rules

The GPO in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin 21/4/2019
The GPO in Dublin. Photo: Tony Gavin 21/4/2019
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

All public bins have been returned to the GPO after An Post was reassured that any litter collected in the premises would not be subjected to GDPR laws.

Over the past number of months, customers and visitors to the historic building were unable to dispose their litter within the building.

An Post said under the new privacy laws, even rubbish containing personal details was considered their responsibility.

For this reason, a decision was taken to remove every bin from the post office’s main hall on a trial basis.

However, just one day after the Office of the Data Protection told Independent.ie that "under no circumstances" could public litter be in breach of GDPR, An Post has decided to re-instate the bins from today.

“An Post have confirmed a number of outstanding issues around the handling of waste material from public litter bins in the GPO,” a spokesperson said.

“The bins had been removed from the public office of the GPO on a trial basis and have now been re-instated,” he said.

Independent.ie understands that the decision to remove the bins was taken after an internal audit identified them as a potential risk of breaching data protection laws.

A pensioner raised the issue on 'Liveline' yesterday to express her dismay over the new regulation.

“I was in the GPO last Saturday to send on a card and when I went to throw the cellophane away, I noticed that there was no bin under the counter,” she said.

“So, I went to the next counter and to the big centre piece, but there were no bins anywhere.

“I asked an [employee] who was going around with a big bag of rubbish what happened, and she said, ‘we’ve removed them all because of the GDPR law’.

“I asked what relevance does that have with litter bins and she said, ‘I don’t know, but we’re crucified trying to keep the place clean. You have to leave your rubbish on the counter or else throw it on the floor’.”

The caller added that if she wanted to dispose of confidential information, she would rather leave it in a bin than have it lying on top of a counter.

A spokesperson for An Post issued a statement to the radio programme, detailing their reasons behind the decision.

“All public bins were removed from the GPO.

“Items of a confidential nature like receipts and mail items are often deposited in the bins by customers and visitors in the post office’s main hall.

“This material then technically becomes the responsibility of An Post under GDPR.

“To head off any possible breach of GDPR in the future, An Post decided to remove the bins on a trial basis.”

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