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Data Protection Commission

Data Protection Commissioner publishes Annual Report 2015

 Data Protection Commissioner publishes Annual Report 2015


The Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, today published her 2015 Annual Report. In this, her second annual report, the Commissioner highlights a pivotal year for the Office, reporting on the engaged and proactive approach of her Office to safeguarding data protection rights and, using case studies and statistics, details the wide variety of work undertaken during the year.
The Annual Report highlights:
·         Significant progress in building the capacity and expertise of the Office through widespread recruitment, including specialist legal, technical, investigatory and communications experts
·         Increase in annual budget to €4.7m, from €3.65m last year
·         Establishment of a Special Investigations Unit to carry out targeted and pro-active investigations
·         Establishment of a Forensics Technical Lab to assist in technical audits and investigations
·         932 complaints investigated, with over 60% relating to access rights and 11% to electronic direct marketing, of which 94% were resolved amicably
·         A wide range of prosecutions and audits undertaken in 2015
·         2,376 data breach notifications
·         14,427 emails and 16,173 telephone calls dealt with via dedicated email and call centre facility
·         Far-reaching developments at EU level including EU Court of Justice rulings and the EU General Data Protection Regulation which will come into force from May 2018
·         Focus on building engagement with tech-multinationals
Publishing the report, Ms Dixon said, “2015 was a pivotal year for the Office and more generally for the protection of data rights both at national and international level. “
“Significantly increased resources and ongoing recruitment, in particular of specialist experts, provided the means to grow and strengthen our capability to continue to shape the data protection environment, protect data rights and ensure proper compliance with data protection law.”
“Most notably on the international front, the Court of Justice of the European Union made a number of seminal judgments. These made clear the extensive protection of personal data under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, with significant impact for data protection authorities across Europe. Likewise, agreement on a new legal framework for data protection in Europe will clearly lay out new rights for individuals, increased obligations for organisations handling personal data and an increasing focus on enforcement for data protection authorities.”
“These developments, coupled with rapid technological change, undoubtedly present challenges, but the Office will continue to meet these head-on through careful planning and appropriate resourcing.”
“Our engaged approach to interacting with the  many tech multi-nationals based here, as well as other public and private sector organisations, continues to be central to our role,ensuring that data-protection rights are upheld, while also ensuring access to digital services that many enjoy and even rely upon. However, we will continue to use our enforcement powers where necessary, ensuring compliance with the law and safeguarding individuals’ data rights.”
Portarlington and Dublin, 21 June 2016

2015 Annual Report


For media enquiries, please contact Áine Griffin, Head of communications, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner +353 (0)57 868 2521, +353 (0)87 2951329 or media@dataprotection.ie
Notes for Editors
The Commissioner is responsible for protecting the rights of individuals as data subjects and enforcing the relevant obligations upon data controllers. As set out in the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003, the Commissioner is independent in the exercise her functions.
Individuals who feel their rights are being infringed can complain to the Commissioner, who will investigate the matter, and take whatever steps may be necessary to resolve it.

The Office was first established in 1989 in Dublin, relocated to Portarlington, Co Laois in 2006 under a government decentralisation programme, and now operates from two locations.

At the end of 2014 a Dublin Office was opened, which is temporarily located at Harcourt Road in Dublin and will move to a permanent location on Fitzwilliam Square in autumn 2016.