Data protection watchdog ‘failing to enforce GDPR’



Johnny Ryan
Johnny Ryan

Ireland’s data protection watchdog is failing to enforce the GDPR and is allowing “the biggest data breach ever recorded” to continue to happen, an Oireachtas committee will hear today.

Representatives of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) are among those who will be giving evidence on the GDPR to the Oireachtas joint committee on justice this evening.

Dr Johnny Ryan, a senior fellow in the ICCL’s information rights programme, will raise the Data Protection Commission’s (DPC) inaction on “real-time bidding”, used by ad tech companies.

He said: “It has been almost three years since I first brought the open secret known as real-time bidding to the attention of the DPC.

“Real-time bidding is the illegal data auction that occurs every time any of us visit a website or use an app. It’s the reason we see ads and can’t fathom how advertisers can know such intimate secrets about us.”

ICCL said the DPC – which will also give evidence at the hearing – has “allowed this illegal practice to continue unabated” in spite of the possible impact of precision-targeted online advertising on electoral democracies.

Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems and Irish solicitor Fred Logue will also give evidence to the committee tonight. The meeting will begin at 6.30pm and will be broadcast on Oireachtas TV.

Committee chairperson James Lawless said: “The committee agreed last December to include an examination of the GDPR as part of our 2021 Work Programme.

“Members have indicated they have number of issues they wish to seek clarity on and we look forward to discussing these matters with Mr Schrems, Mr Logue, and the representatives from the ICCL and the DPC.”



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