Wednesday 23 October 2019

Kenny in 'friends of Facebook' controversy

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny
Former taoiseach Enda Kenny
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny was named among "friends of Facebook" and offered to help the tech giant influence other EU member states, an alleged internal company memo has claimed.

The claim prompted Fianna Fáil and Labour to demand clarity on whether the Government lobbied other EU member states on behalf of Facebook.

'The Observer' newspaper reported that Facebook lobbied politicians in Europe over plans by the EU to introduce General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy laws.

Documents seen by the newspaper include an alleged 2013 memo that outlines the "uphill battle" Facebook was having in Europe over "data and privacy". It lists Mr Kenny as among "friends of Facebook" and notes his appreciation for the jobs Facebook has brought to Ireland.

It claims Mr Kenny offered to use the "significant influence" of Ireland's EU presidency in 2013 as a way to influence other member states. Mr Kenny did not respond to attempts to contact him for comment on the claims.

'The Observer' reported that the documents appear to come from a court case taken against Facebook in the US by an app developer. Facebook said it could not respond in detail as the documents are still under seal in court.

"Like the other documents that were cherry-picked and released in violation of a court order last year, these by design tell one side of a story and omit important context," it said.

A Government spokesperson said: "Ireland has always and continues to support high standards of data protection regulation at national and EU level, working with other member states to agree and now implement the GDPR."

A spokesman for Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon said Mr Kenny did not lobby the commissioner's office on behalf of Facebook.

Irish Independent

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