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Data Protection Bill ‘contrary to European Law’ – Ó Laoghaire

22 March, 2018 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has today expressed concern that the Minister’s proposed amendment to Data Protection Bill is in direct conflict with European Law, particularly Article 9 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Speaking this afternoon, the Cork South-Central TD said;

“What the Minister has proposed is in direct contradiction of Article 9, at least in my reading of it. The Minister may point to Recital 56, but that is an interpretation rather than actual law, but it does not provide sufficient safeguards.

“Aside from being contrary to the GDPR, and by extension European law, it is far too ambiguous, fails to define ‘political purposes’, and creates a situation in which an unintended loophole may arise from it, leading to an infringement of rights of in the context of Data Protection for our citizens.

“Careful consideration is required on this Bill, and the further we look at the intricacies of the legislation, the more the flaws become apparent. We must get this right.” 

Article 9.1 of GDPR - Processing of special categories of personal data

“Processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation shall be prohibited”

Ministerial Amendment  - Processing of personal data revealing political opinions for electoral activities and functions of Referendum Commission

43. Subject to suitable and specific measures being taken to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of data subjects, the processing of personal data revealing political opinions shall be lawful where the processing is carried out—

(a) in the course of electoral activities in the State for the purpose of compiling data on peoples’ political opinions by—

(i) a political party, or

(ii) a candidate for election to, or a holder of, elective political office in the State,


(b) by the Referendum Commission in the performance of its functions.”.

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