Watchdog warns sites to toe line on data privacy
Irish websites will have to adopt "clear and straightforward" privacy policies or face prosecution. Together with other organisations collecting data, they will also face random audits to ensure they comply with data protection laws. At yesterday's introduction of the Data Protection Commission's website, www.dataprivacy.ie, its commissioner, Mr Joe Meade, said: "We are not trying to catch people out, but to ensure that they are complying with data protection rules." He says he intends to use his full legal powers to enforce compliance by organisations - including websites - that collect and hold data on individuals.
The commissioner plans to name in his report to the Oireachtas any organisations not complying with the existing Act and the Data Protection Directive, which comes into force early next year.
Mr Meade notes that Irish websites collecting data and passing them along to third parties - even if those parties have business ties to the website - are violating the 1988 Data Protection Act.
The commissioner said he also had to weigh the right of individuals to privacy against demands from European security services, such as Europol. Security services in the Republic, however, were required to comply with national data protection laws.