Tuesday 24 April 2018

Q&A: Garda chief at centre of new row over email

Hillary Clinton (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Hillary Clinton (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Why is there such controversy about the Garda Commissioner using a Gmail account?

Nóirín O'Sullivan is believed to have used a private email address for more than six years, but it only came to light in recent days.

It is understand the Garda chief accessed material relating to her high-profile roles in An Garda Síochána, which would make her a prime target for hackers.

Aside from anything, the topic is very controversial because Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as US Secretary of State is widely seen to have damaged her election campaign.


So was she hacked?

Gardaí said there was no evidence that her account was compromised. However, there is a concern that her username and password could have been among a batch stolen during a data breach in 2012.

The information was placed for sale on the so-called 'dark web', which is used for illegal trade.


Why did she use a Gmail address instead of her official account?

Ms O'Sullivan has a Garda email address, but officers have commonly reported that it is cumbersome and restrictive. The Commissioner has said that restrictions with the Garda email system, such as e-mail size and storage, led to her use of Gmail. Experts say this is common in many workplaces.


Did the Commissioner break protocol?

It's not exactly clear. Garda HQ said their policy on email use dated from 2012 and did not take into account advances in technology such as the need for mobile devices to be associated with a commercial email address in order for them to be secured. The 2012 policy has recently been reviewed and a new policy is being finalised.


What happens next?

The Commissioner is preparing a report on the issue for the Justice Department and Policing Authority. She is due before the latter tomorrow, during which her Gmail problems are likely to be raised.

Irish Independent

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