Commissioner for Data Protection welcomes the new EU General Data Protection Regulation

25th May 2018

Friday, 25 May 2018


Commissioner for Data Protection, Helen Dixon, has welcomed the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from today Friday, 25 May. GDPR is a new harmonised law that regulates the processing of personal data relating to individuals in the EU. Heralding a new era in data protection standards in the EU, the Regulation significantly strengthens the rights of individuals and increases the obligations on organisations in how they collect and use personal data.

Commenting today, Ms Dixon stated that “the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies from today. Its rules must be implemented by all organisations of every size and in every sector and it demands higher accountability in terms of how information that is personal to each of us - whether it identifies us directly or indirectly - is collected and used. The GDPR therefore also applies to each of us as individuals in that it gives us strong new rights to control the pace and ways in which our personal data is used. The GDPR is about allowing society benefit from the good in technology but ensuring we are protected from the harms of excessive and unfair processing.

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) is the independent authority charged with monitoring and enforcing the application of this important new law in Ireland. We will continue to push out important guidance information to assist organisations in implementing the GDPR and individuals in exercising their rights through our website.”

The Irish DPC has put significant investment into raising awareness of, and preparing for, the GDPR over the past two years. The results of a recently DPC commissioned independent survey of SME businesses in Ireland has shown some of the positive results of the DPC’s work and engagement in this regard. The survey was conducted one year on from a similar survey conducted in May 2017 and some of the headline figures include:

The 2018 survey shows a two-fold increase in awareness amongst SME businesses in Ireland (90%) compared to last year (44%) regarding the major changes the GDPR brings;

This year, five times more SME business executives demonstrate knowledge of the consequences the GDPR will have for their organisations with 30% now being able to name three changes compared to only 6% in 2017: and

This year’s survey shows a 24% increase in the levels of awareness of the penalties imposed on companies for failure to comply with the GDPR (65% in 2018 compared to 41% in 2017).

Ms. Dixon stated: “I am hugely encouraged by the results of our awareness survey and by the strong engagement we have had with so many organisations in the last year. Together we can put Ireland on the map as a country that implements and upholds the highest standards of protection of personal information.”

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