Davis leaving data protection post to take up Apple job
Deputy data protection commissioner Gary Davis is leaving the agency to take up the post of head of privacy with Apple in Europe.
The move comes at a critical point in the development of a new and harmonised data protection framework for the EU.
While Apple would not comment, the appointment of Mr Davis may be viewed as a sign of the tech giant’s commitment to preparing at an early stage for the planned changes in Europe’s data protection regime.
Information and data quality consultant Daragh O’Brien of Castlebridge Associates noted that Apple had not seen any significant data breaches on the scale of those seen at other firms, such as Sony.
There had been some concerns about location-based data on older operating systems on iPhones but this appeared to have been addressed.
“They hold a massive fingerprint of everything we do, because of how embedded they are in our lives through iTunes and our devices,” he said.
A new data protection regulation before the European Parliament will have far-reaching implications for businesses and for individuals. Making progress on this issue is listed as a key priority for the Government’s current presidency of the EU.
Mr Davis has served since March 2006 as deputy to the commissioner, Billy Hawkes.
He headed the office’s biggest investigation to date – the audit into Facebook’s privacy policies, which began in 2011. The initial three-month inquiry placed a “significant burden” on the commissioner’s resources.
He has also overseen more than 400 prosecutions for breaches of data protection law, including several actions against phone service providers and other firms for unsolicited direct marketing by email and SMS.
Codes of conduct
Mr Davis negotiated codes of conduct for compliance with data protection legislation, including those with the insurance industry, the Garda, the Department of Education and the Revenue Commissioners.
He has been responsible for the overall management and co-ordination of the office, including staff management and developing policy. Mr Davis previously worked for the Department of the Taoiseach, where he served for five years as head of the government secretariat. He takes up his new role from next month.