Seanad debates

Friday, 18 December 2020

Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017: Committee and Remaining Stages


10:00 am

Mary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

We might explore this in the context of general data protection regulation, GDPR, and data protection legislation. We probably have another piece of work to do about putting it into a criminal justice context. My home address is on the public record because it went on a ballot paper at one point. Things like that are known and the big poster in the front garden was the giveaway. There are contexts in which the publication of that information is appropriate. It was appropriate for South Dublin County Council to publish it, it was appropriate for it to go on a ballot paper. However, it is different if someone goes to the trouble of putting up my address for a reason that is not appropriate, because the handing over of my home address was for one purpose and for the processing of my personal data in a particular context and for a particular purpose. Doxxing is for a harassment purpose. It is to mobilise people to protest outside one's door. In that context, we need to consider broadening the definition for a criminal justice purpose of what is a data controller. The minute one assumes a processing role on personal data for a purpose other than that for which those data were surrendered and puts them on a social media platform, then I think there is something we can probably do in future to address doxxing. I appreciate there is a challenge in the wording when we have to define what is "private", but there is probably another way of going around it that would be very beneficial.


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