Regulating the Information Society: Data Protection and Ireland's Internet Industry
David Farrell and Niamh Hardiman (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Irish Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming)
20 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 10, 2020
Ireland has become a global hub for personal information with internet firms headquartered in Dublin collectively holding information on billions of users. But has Ireland been a responsible regulator of the way in which these firms use that data? In this chapter I examine the approach taken by the Irish state, tracing the evolution of data protection governance and its application to the internet industry.
I start by outlining the legal and policy context. I argue that regulation in this area has been hampered by a weak legislative framework and significant under-resourcing. Using Facebook as a case study, I examine how this has in turn prompted international pressure for stronger Irish regulation. I outline the government response to this pressure, and assess the impact of a new commitment to ‘best in class’ data protection regulation. I conclude by arguing that the state has yet to properly engage with the wider issues presented by its new role as a key jurisdiction for the internet industry, with data protection being just one of the aspects which needs more attention as Irish regulation increasingly has spillover effects into other jurisdictions.
Keywords: data protection, privacy, GDPR, Ireland, Data Protection Commission, Data Protection Commissioner, Facebook
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