Helen Dixon has been reappointed as DPC (Data Protection Commissioner) until 2024 following government approval.
Announcing the decision, Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Justice and Equality, said: “Helen is internationally well regarded for her expertise in this area. This is a very important role as Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is the EU’s lead regulator for the many multinational companies based in this jurisdiction […] She has launched a number of significant investigations into multinational companies’ alleged non-compliance with GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] and it is crucial that she be allowed to see them through to completion.”
Dixon commented on her reappointment: “I welcome the Government’s early decision and announcement in relation to my reappointment as Commissioner for a second term. At this early but critical juncture of GDPR implementation and enforcement, continuity is important to drive clarity for organisations around the standards they must meet in order to effectively safeguard the data protection rights of service users, consumers and citizens.
It is a privilege to serve in this role and to work with the dedicated staff of the Data Protection Commission. Our fellow EU data protection authorities count on us to effectively supervise the large internet platforms headquartered in Ireland and we are committed to this task.”
This year, €15.2 million has been allocated to the DPC, an 800% increase on its 2014 budget of €1.9 million.
The extra funds will enable the DPC to boost staff from 135 to 160 by the end of 2019. It plans to recruit for a number of positions, including legal, technical, audit and investigations specialists.
Rise in GDPR complaints
Since the GDPR came into force in May 2018, complaints have increased from 910 in 2013 to 4,113 in 2018.
Deputy Commissioner Anna Morgan noted a “significant increase in complaints and queries received by the DPC between May and December last year, with more complaints received in that seven month period than for the full year of 2017.
“The DPC commenced 15 statutory inquiries last year under the GDPR in relation to the multinational technology sector. A further 33 domestic statutory inquiries were also commenced during 2018, examining issues including the use of CCTV by local authorities.
“It is expected that the majority of these inquiries will be concluded during 2019.”
Organisations that fail to comply with the GDPR face fines of up to 4% of annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater. For tech giants like Facebook and Google, this could mean billions in fines.
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