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Call for new data protection legislation after Bank of Ireland laptops lost

24 April, 2008

Speaking in the Dáil today, after the loss of four Bank of Ireland laptops containing medical and financial details of over 10,000 people, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD called for the introduction of legislation to plug the holes in the existing Data Protection Acts.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "The loss of four lap tops by Bank of Ireland containing unencrypted private, medical and financial details of over 10,000 people is just the most recent in a series of serious data protection breaches. Other high profile incidents include the loss of sensitive data by the Blood Transfusion Supply Board, the leaking of data by a Department of Social Welfare employee to a criminal, and the leaking of state-held private data to the insurance industry.

"The protections contained in the existing Data Protection Acts are grossly insufficient. They have been over taken by big brother type, often EU driven, data retention and surveillance measures.

"We urgently need a new, updated and robust legislation to plug the holes in the current Data Protection Acts. This new Bill must contain appropriate punitive measures to ensure that both public and private agencies who retain personal data, secure that data properly.

"The Government and the EU have reneged on their duty to accompany data surveillance and retention measures with adequate data protection safeguards. A new Data Protection Bill must be added to the Government legislative programme." ENDS

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