From Facebook to Faust


Sir, – Congratulations to Derek Scally on his piece on Facebook (“Ireland has failed to regulate Facebook on behalf of Europe”, Opinion, March 24th). Absolutely spot on!

If the financial regulator failed Ireland, it is no exaggeration to say that the data regulator failed the international community.

His article begs the question, how did this state of affairs arise? Was it because we didn’t understand the complexities of the global financial and digital industries? I doubt it. Was it by design? Was this the deliberate Faustian pact between the government of the day and the financial and digital multinationals – “Invest in Ireland and we will guarantee you that no financial or data regulations will curtail your activities”. History will judge us harshly if this has been the case!

Can we do better? The current Data Protection Bill before the Houses of the Oireachtas which, in many aspects, attempts to undermine the (EU) General Data Protection Regulation is not a good omen. It’s time for a more fundamental reflection on the ethics underpinning the emerging digital Ireland and its concomitant digital democracy. Getting it wrong will condemn us to a new era of colonialism. – Yours, etc,