Seanad debates

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2009: Committee and Remaining Stages


11:00 am

Photo of Feargal QuinnFeargal Quinn (Independent)

I support every word spoken by Senator Bacik. I welcome the Minister of State. I realise he is new to this particular topic and challenge. I remember speaking in this House 15 years ago about how Ireland could become the Internet centre of the world. This was when the world wide web was just beginning and people did not know what it meant. We pointed out that just as places such as Singapore and others had determined to be hubs in Asia Ireland, too, might become a hub. To do that, however, we had to identify how we would make the country an attractive place. These are precisely the sort of issues now under discussion.

Senator Bacik mentioned other countries which have established very different standards from those in this country and in which there does not appear to be a need to do what we are doing in this regard. Irish Internet service providers will find a very heavy cost in this measure. Recently IBEC stated this is not the direction we should take if we are to become a leading place for Internet communications. There is a very heavy cost in maintaining data for so long a period which makes it much less attractive for a person to invest in Ireland. We are sending out a message out that the length of retention time in Ireland is longer than in other countries. The resulting cost is such that it makes Ireland an unattractive place to be. Let us ensure we regard this matter seriously and realise the future lies in Internet communications. If we are not determined to lead in this direction the message we send out will deter people from investing in the country.


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