Data protection watchdog handled over 10,000 cases in 2020

Helen Dixon
Helen Dixon

Ireland’s data protection watchdog handled over 10,000 cases last year, a nine per cent increase on the previous year.

The Data Protection Commission’s annual report for 2020 reveals that the watchdog handled a total of 10,151 cases last year, up from 9,337 in 2019.

It received 4,660 complaints from individuals under the GDPR in 2020 and concluded 4,476 complaints, including 1,660 complaints received prior to 2020.

Over 60 per cent (2,186) of complaints lodged with the DPC in 2020 were concluded within the same calendar year, and the average days taken to conclude a case has reduced by 53 per cent since the GDPR came into effect in May 2018.

However, the annual report also warns of a continuing “phenomenon” of “both organisations and individuals attempting to misuse the GDPR to obfuscate or pursue other agendas”.

As an example, it highlights “organisations deleting CCTV footage after they are on notice of an access request for that footage claiming the GDPR requires them to delete it every seven days”.

The report also highlights the growth of the DPC to a staff of 145 and budget of €16.9 million in 2020, which will grow to a budget of €19.1 million in 2021.

Data protection commissioner Helen Dixon said: “The progress the DPC has made in 2020 provides a solid platform on which to build across our enforcement and complaint-handling functions in particular.

“The GDPR must be understood as a project for the now, but equally for the longer-term. The DPC intends to continue as a leader in its full implementation.”

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