Seanad debates

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Data Protection Bill 2018: Committee Stage (Resumed)


2:30 pm

Photo of Alice-Mary HigginsAlice-Mary Higgins (Independent) | Oireachtas source

People might be confused. When fines are paid, they are paid into the Exchequer, as the Minister can confirm. Taxpayers' money is not lost to the public. It may be reissued to the same body but with additional or new conditions attached. While a civil action is one mechanism, it is a very laborious legal route for any individual to take. In many cases, citizens are not looking for large financial compensation. They simply want a poor practice to be addressed in order that in six months' time the same concern will not arise for their neighbour or someone else. It is not appropriate that in all public bodies which are not undertakings we leave the responsibility for ensuring high standards to individuals taking on crusades or challenges in court. Individuals have taken a brave stand in the past, but there is a duty on us, as legislators, to ensure there are mechanisms in place to have proper public penalties. As identified, the commission is the appropriate place. The amendment does not contain a list of administrative fines. It simply insists on it being a measure that could be used. I imagine there will be more amendments on this issue on Report Stage and there are many ways to resolve it. I do not think the answer given is satisfactory.


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