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Data Protection

The Department of Family and Social Affairs has failed to secure the data of some data subjects on which it holds data. The consequences were severe; one man was burgled and three others were subject to extortion threats.

What is surprising is the identity of the person rushing to reassure the public that its data will be safe; it was the Data Protection Commissioner.

He is, of course, a civil servant, but he is also charged under the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2003 with policing the holding of data and, where necessary, the prosecution of offences where breaches occur.

Why, therefore, is he assuring the media that the Department of Family and Social Affairs “…is working on technological solutions which would limit the access employees have to data in the system.â€?

Under the legislation it is his job to find data controllers who are not making data secure and to prosecute them for breaches.

Where are the prosecutions?