Data Protection Commission Regulatory Strategy:  Draft Published for Consultation

PUBLISHED: 14th May 2021

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The Data Protection Commission has published a  Draft Regulatory Strategy for 2021 to 2026, which is open for consultation. Interested parties are invited to submit their comments or observations in response by 30 June 2021. 

The Draft Strategy seeks to take into account the interests of all stakeholders, the legislative framework governing the regulation of data protection, the current context in which the Commission operates, emerging academic theories in the area, and future issues or trends for which the Commission must prepare. 

The Draft Strategy sets out the Commission’s strategic goals as follows:

  1. to regulate consistently and effectively
  2. to safeguard individuals and promote data protection awareness
  3. to prioritise the protection of children and other vulnerable groups
  4. to bring clarity to stakeholders
  5. to support organisations and drive compliance

The Commission wishes to develop an effective and far-reaching strategy to direct its activities in light of the recent overhaul of data protection law and the resulting uncertainties or ambiguities in law and practice.

The Commission also recognises that the public is increasingly aware of data protection issues.  Notable recent examples of regulatory items in the news include:

  • The Commission’s draft guidance on processing the personal data of children from December 2020, following which it launched an inquiry into the processing of children’s personal data by the Department of Health.
  • The Commission’s inquiry into an alleged leak of personal data from Facebook which commenced in April 2021.
  • The ongoing regulatory process and related fine regarding WhatsApp following an investigation into its use of personal data.

The Draft Strategy sits in a broader context of increased public and media attention on data protection issues, including for example the European Data Protection Board’s recent guidelines on the targeting of social media users and its recent opinion on the European Commission’s draft adequacy decisions on the UK’s data protection regime.  Additionally, the European Data Protection Board and European Data Protection Supervisor recently issued a joint statement expressing concerns over the safety of vaccination passports. 

The changing landscape of data protection regulation in the context of the global pandemic is also at the forefront of supervisory authorities’ minds; for example, in 2020 the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK reshaped its priorities in light of recent trends and complaints and the Data Protection Commission issued statements in respect of returning to work, safe video-conferencing, and contact tracing.

The public consultation therefore provides a useful opportunity for all stakeholders to express their views on the Commission’s Draft Strategy, particularly during a time of increased awareness of data protection regulation.

Responses to the Draft Strategy should be emailed to the Commission at dpcstrategy@dataprotection.ie or sent by post to:

Data Protection Commission
Regulatory Strategy Consultation
21 Fitzwilliam Square South
D02 RD28
Ireland


For more information please contact Jeanne Kelly at jkelly@lkshields.ie or Robert Haniver at rhaniver@lkshields.ie

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