For Irish Privacy Regulator, the Next Year is GDPR, GDPR, GDPR


The next 12 months are all about preparing for the new European privacy regime that comes on line in 2018, the Irish privacy commissioner said in her 2016 annual report.

Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, heralds the arrival of new data protection laws, internet company mergers and supports the establishment of a European Union-wide “Digital Clearing House” that allows privacy, consumer and competitions regulators to cooperate on holding web-based service providers to account.

The Irish DPC plays an outsized role in European privacy regulation as compared to the size of the country because it serves as an offshore hub for a lot of tech companies such as Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc.

The DPC made a huge push to increase staffing and funding as it prepares to begin enforcing the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The office added three deputy commissioners, funding increased 60 percent over 2016 levels and the office has plans add 30 additional staff in 2017 to bring the total staff to almost 100.

Over the course of 2016 the Irish privacy regulator received a total of 1,479 complaints—an increase of 59 percent since 2015—and was able to close 1,438 complaints. 

This year Dixon has a number of goals preparation for GDPR—a piece of legislation that will likely have the effect of complaints skyrocketing all across the EU in 2018. 

Dixon wants the DPC to ensure that the Irish government understands the powers that privacy office needs as it prepares Irish legislation to comply with GDPR. She also aims for her office to contribute to the Article 29 Working Party of 28 EU privacy regulators, create a new website and case management system and restructure the DPC to match its new responsibilities. 

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