Tuesday 21 May 2019

Public bins removed from the GPO over GDPR concerns

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 removed from the GPO due to potential privacy breaches under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Customers and visitors to the historic building will no longer be able to dispose their litter within the premises.

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

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

This was done on a trial basis.

A pensioner raised the issue on RTE’s Liveline today 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 asking what happened, and she said, ‘we’ve removed them all because of the GDPR law’.

“I asked what relevance that has 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.”

Last month, school principals had warned parents they cannot take photos at communions or sports days “because of GDPR”.

However, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) outlined that any outright ban on parents taking photos was wrong.

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