The establishment of a Privacy Task Force would help to ensure that people’s privacy is protected online and prevent serious data breaches, Fine Gael Senator Mary Seery Kearney has said.
Senator Kearney said a ruling today by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on an international agreement which facilitates the transfer of data from the EU to the US, raises concerns about how national entities and businesses manage people’s private information.
The Dublin South Central Senator said, “Overnight we have heard of the serious security breach of high-profile Twitter accounts. This morning the European Court of Justice has struck down the Privacy Shield agreement between the European Union and the United States, deeming it as invalid as it does not sufficiently protect the data of European Union citizens. These are two dramatic events relating to our privacy as citizens.
“I am proud that the European Union has led the way in safeguarding the privacy rights of individuals. Data is the new gold, and it is right that our privacy is protected as a human right.
“Privacy by Design is at the heart of GDPR and the Irish Data Commission has been at the forefront of ensuring the implementation of privacy safeguards in policies and procedures throughout Ireland, be they in small or large businesses, community groups, and indeed any entities who process personal data and are data controllers.
“I am deeply concerned for the affect the events of the last 24 hours will have on small and medium sized businesses and on community and volunteer groups who have legal responsibilities as data controllers. If the ECJ can find an international agreement does not sufficiently address privacy standards, then how do small entities in our communities ensure compliance with data protection law?
“Working from home has become a new norm for the wider good of preventing the spread of Covid-19. Given that office environments are easier for an employer to control, it is now more important than ever to implement privacy standards and ensure privacy by design is held to, and that is quite a challenge and a real cost for business.
“I am calling for the red circling of money to support small business and community groups in the implementation of their data compliance.
“As data is the new gold, it is being mined and collected both lawfully and by criminal entities. I believe it is time for a national conversation on how our privacy is being taken and given away. The establishment of a Privacy Task Force could be hugely important in implementing guidelines and legislation and in ensuring the protection of privacy as a human right.”