Government approves drafting of new data bill
Sharing of data by public bodies to be given new legal framework
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin: said the public service needs to share data to deliver services but at the same time ensure the data held is protected and people’s privacy concerns are taken into account.
The Government has given the go-ahead to public service data-sharing measures that could assist in combating welfare and taxation fraud and help with the introduction of new taxation or means testing initiatives.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will prepare the heads of a Bill on data-sharing and governance, and aims to have the work completed by early next year.
The Bill will be designed to provide a framework for the legal sharing of data within the public service.
It will also seek to improve the governance and security of data-sharing and to encourage the moving away from paper documents when the public service is dealing with citizens and business.
With increased use of online public services, the public services card, which has already been issued to more than 330,000 people, is to become more widespread and of greater use.
The Standard Authentication Framework Environment Committee will be reconstituted with a view to ensuring the use of the card for all appropriate Government services by 2016.
The card, which contains a photograph of the holder and his or her personal public service number (PPSN), is linked to technology that ensures a person’s image cannot be used on more than one card without that fact being flagged.
It is already used by people drawing certain social welfare payments as well as persons who have applied for PPSNs recently.
The card will be rolled out to everyone who is entitled to free travel next year and can be used in the same way as a Leap card.
The idea is that the identity of the holder of the card is accepted for the delivery of a range of public services or transactions.
The Government has also approved the development of a system whereby a public health identifier will be used within the health system.
This code will not be known to its owner but the health system will be able to link the code to particular PPSNs.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said in a statement that the public service needs to share data to deliver services but at the same time ensure the data held is protected and people’s privacy concerns are taken into account.