Data Advocacy for Ireland

The core Irish data protection law is comprised in the Data Protection Act 1988 (‘1988 Act’) as amended by the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003 (‘2003 Act’) (together the Data Protection Acts (“DPA”)). The 2003 Act implemented the EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) (“Data Protection Directive”). In addition to the DPA, the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011 (‘ePrivacy Regulations’) set out data protection rules in relation to direct marketing and electronic networks and services, including location data and cookies.

Law Applicable

The Data Protection Acts 1998 – 2003 (as amended) (the “DP Acts”) implemented the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.

The European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011, implemented the E-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC.

Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (‘DPC’)

Canal House Station Road Portarlington Co. Laois

Ireland

LoCall 1890 25 22 31

T +353 57 868 4800

F +353 57 868 4757

[email protected]

www.dataprotection.ie

There is no legal requirement to appoint a data protection officer but it would be best practice to do so. The DPC recommends that data controllers appoint a co-ordinator to deal with subject access requests. Where a data protection officer is appointed, this information should be supplied to the data subjects.

The DPC has published a Personal Data Security Breach Code of Practice(‘Code’) which states that the DPC must be notified of any situation where personal data has been put at risk of unauthorised disclosure, loss, destruction or alteration. There is a limited exception to this requirement where the disclosure:

  • affects less than one hundred individuals
  • the loss of sensitive personal or financial data is not involved, and
  • the affected individuals have been informed.

Under the ePrivacy Regulations, data breaches in relation to electronic communication networks or services must be notified to the Data Protection Commissioner. Where the breach is likely to affect the personal data or privacy of a subscriber, affected subscribers must also be notified.

In very limited circumstances, data controllers can take the view that affected data subjects do not need to be notified if measures have been taken which will make the data inaccessible or unintelligible to unauthorised users; such technical measures could include encryption.

Under the Privacy Regulations, “publicly available communications services” providers (such as telecommunications companies and ISPs) are required to report all incidents in which Personal Data has been put at risk as soon as the Data Controller becomes aware of the incident, except when the full extent and consequences of the incident have been reported without delay directly to the affected Data Subject(s), it affects no more than 100 Data Subjects and it does not include Sensitive Personal Data or Personal Data of a financial nature. The ODPC has the ability to audit relevant organizations to assess their compliance with these guidelines and instructions.

An organization that is involved in a data breach situation may be subject to an administrative fine, penalty or sanction, or civil actions, class actions, and/or a criminal prosecution.

Opt-in regime: no direct marketing electronic mail can be legally sent without the express consent of the receiver, unless a pre-existing business or commercial relationship exists. (Consent is however not mandated for marketing to legal persons.)

Also, a specific opt out must be offered with each message. Disguised sender identities are prohibited, and a valid return address must be provided.

The term “Opt-Out Rule” means that the sending of e-marketing to the recipient is permitted on an opt-out basis if:

the recipient’s details were originally collected “in the context of a sale”.

the entity sending the marketing is the same legal entity that collected the recipient’s details initially.

the marketing relates to “similar” products and/or services for which the recipient’s details were originally obtained.

the recipient is given the opportunity free of charge to object to the e-marketing, both at the time their details were collected and in each subsequent communication.

Applicable Legislation:

The European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011 (‘2011 Regulations’)

First party e-marketing

(entity that collects the data will send the e-marketing itself)

B2C: Opt-in. Opt-out permitted where Opt-Out Rule applies.

B2B: Opt-out

Third party e-marketing

(entity that collects the data will share with third party partner for e-marketing)

B2C: Opt-in

B2B: Opt-in.

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