Thursday, 19 November 2015
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
254. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is aware of the Bara judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered last month; if he will indicate if the information in any of the databases assembled and processed by his Department, or by a company (details supplied) towards the administration of the Eircode postcode scheme was gathered using personal data previously collected and held by the State towards a different purpose; if persons whose personal data was gathered in such manner have been notified of the transfer of their data to the administration of the Eircode scheme; if not, his views that all such databases are now illegal in view of the Bara judgment; the measures he proposes to address this matter; the correspondence he has had with senior management at this company on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41106/15]
Capita Business Support Services Ireland Limited were awarded a 10 year contract in December 2013 to develop and implement the National Postcode System, on behalf of the State. The contract covers the design of the Eircode, encoding public sector databases, accessing the GeoDirectory database, the launch and implementation of Eircode and the on-going management of the system for the licence period. Capita do not hold any personal data on the Eircode database or Eircode Finder. It includes business names, which in some cases can refer to an individual, particularly for small businesses or sole traders. The Eircode database is based on information received from An Post GeoDirectory.
As part of the implementation process an address matching exercise was carried out on public sector databases. The purpose of this exercise was to populate key government databases with postcodes prior to launch. Approximately 80 million records were encoded, none of which contained personal data.
Earlier this year I introduced a short piece of legislation to clarify the position in respect of Eircodes and data protection issues. The Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Amendment Act 2015 provides protection for specified legitimate postcode activities to be carried out. The exercise of these activities is fundamental to the establishment and implementation of the postcode project. An example of a legitimate postcode activity would be the creation or management, by the postcode contractor, of a postcode database providing that the database only includes the fields containing the postcode, geo-coordinate, address or a variation of address, and even then only in certain limited circumstances.
255. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for details of all instances from 1 January 2000 to 2015 to date where legislation introduced by him or on his behalf, which is enacted and still in force, contains a provision amending the Data Protection Acts to allow for the transfer of personal or other data collected, retained and processed by the State for a particular purpose towards another specific purpose, in tabular form; the financial cost of creating and administering such databases, by case; the projected financial cost for databases not yet complete; the specific legislative provision which enabled such data transfers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41133/15]
My Department has not enacted any legislation which amends the Data Protection Acts. Any legislation introduced complies with the provisions of the Data Protection Acts, where appropriate. For example, in relation to Eircodes, the recently enacted Communications Regulation Postal Services Amendment Act 2015 did not amend the Data Protection Acts but rather the legislation was drafted in accordance with the Data Protection Acts and was designed to strengthen its provisions.