Thursday, 20 January 2011
Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2009: Committee and Remaining Stages
Ivana Bacik (Independent)
I anticipated that response. This amendment was tabled in the interest of trying to ensure sufficient mechanisms for oversight and scrutiny in the legislation. The Data Protection Commissioner, in his briefing in November 2009, made the point that safeguards in the Act were not adequate. One must also consider the numbers of requests for access to data already made under the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act. In 2006, Deputy Howlin noted in the Dáil that 10,000 requests had been made by the Garda Síochána for access to personal telephone records in 2006, which amounts to approximately 30 per day. With that volume of requests, it begs the question as to whether all were necessary to investigate serious crime. The volume is such that we contend that oversight and scrutiny mechanisms in the Act should be robust. There should be sanctions for any breach of the procedures in the Act or any abuse of powers by individual members of any of the State law enforcement agencies in operating the data access provisions in the Act. We are trying to ensure rigorous and robust oversight and scrutiny mechanisms. I did anticipate the Minister of State's response.