DATA PROTECTION COMMISSIONER WELCOMES COURT OUTCOME IN LATEST PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CASE
The Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has welcomed the outcome of prosecution proceedings taken by her Office against a firm of private investigators and one its directors, which were concluded today at Tuam District Court.
Glen Collection Investments Limited pleaded guilty to twenty-five sample charges for offences under the Data Protection Acts, 1988 & 2003. The company was convicted and fined €500 in respect of each of the five charges.
Company Director, Mr. Michael Ryan, also pleaded guilty to ten charges for offences under Section 29 of the Acts. Mr. Ryan was found guilty of all ten charges, and fined €500 in respect of each conviction.
The investigation into this case uncovered significant levels of unauthorised access to personal data held by the Department of Social Protection, and the subsequent disclosure of that data to the defendant company by an official in the Department’s INTREO centre in Athlone, who was known to the company director.
Welcoming today’s court outcome Tony Delaney, Assistant Commissioner, said:
“These prosecutions send a strong message to private investigators and tracing agents to comply fully with data protection legislation in the conduct of their business and that if they fail to do so, they will be pursued and prosecuted for offending behaviour.”
Notes for editors:
Following an investigation by the DPC, Glen Collection Investments Limited of Ballymore Road, Glenamaddy, Co. Galway was charged with fifteen counts of breaching Section 22(1) of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 & 2003 (unfairly obtaining personal data from a data controller for the purpose of unauthorised disclosure). In the cases before the Court, the personal data in question was kept by the Department of Social Protection. In all cases, the data was disclosed to a Dublin based firm of solicitors who were acting on behalf of their clients, AIB and Bank of Ireland. The defendant company was also charged with sixty-one counts of breaches under Section 19(4) of the Acts, in respect of unlawful processing of personal data and failure to register as a data processor with the DPC.
One director of Glen Collection Investments Limited, Mr. Michael Ryan, was separately charged with seventy-six counts of breaching Section 29 of the Acts, for his part in the offences committed by the company. This section provides for the prosecution of company directors where an offence by a company can be attributed to either neglect or complicity by its directors.