Government planning to bring data protection watchdog to court to allow PSC scheme to continue

The Government is considering plans to bring the Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, to court in order to pave the way for its continued use of the controversial Public Services Card (PSC), according to reports.

The data protection watchdog announced last month that it had found there is no legal basis for requiring the PSC to access a range of public services beyond its original purpose for accessing welfare payments.

The Department of Social Protection was told it had 21 days to stop all processing of personal data carried out in connection with the issuing of PSCs where they are being issued solely for the purpose of a transaction between a member of the public and a body other than the Department.

It was also told to contact those public bodies who require the production of a PSC as a pre-condition of entering into transactions with members of the public to notify them that the Department will no longer be in a position to issue PSCs to those people.

However, The Irish Times reports that the Cabinet will today discuss plans to challenge the Data Protection Commissioner’s findings in court and defend the continued use of the card.

The Department of Social Protection, along with the Department of Public Expenditure, have reportedly taken advice on the matter from the Attorney General and external counsel.

The Departments also plan to withhold the DPC’s full report, which the Government previously said would not be published while its content was under review.

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