It was 12 months ago today…

[Note: This post was drafted before Christmas and before the kerfuffle this week about the Household Charge]

It’s been a busy 12 months. Data Protection and Information Quality challenges are increasingly being faced up to by Irish businesses. A new Data Protection Regulation (yes, Regulation, not Directive) is in the offing which will change the landscape still further and lead to even more convergence of the fields of Information Quality, Information Governance, and Data Protection.

Looking back on the past 12 months I must say thank you to the “good eggs” who helped along the way and remember back to the first issue that captured the media headlines in 2011, just before the general election.

That’s when Fine Gael, in a mad dash to embrace social media in their campaigning ignored the Data Protection Acts, prompting this post from me. That post was followed by a number of others (here, here and here). The story also ran in the media for a number of weeks, helped by the fact that the website (which was already a Data Protection disaster area was hacked because it secured very well).

12 months on and we have seen Facebook politely nudged in the direction of improved compliance. But our political classes continue to ignore the Data Protection legislation in policy proposals and in local campaigning.

  • Want to integrate data and collate data from multiple sources for the purposes of tax collection? – then you need to do it in a way that balances risk to privacy and ensures security of the data
  • Want to send Christmas emails to your consitutents? then make damned sure you have consent for that because it is not an exempted activity under the Acts (it is not part of running for political office and it is not part of the operation of their elected office, it’s marketing).

The new EU Regulation will impose a reworking of old rules on all data controllers and processors. I expect we’ll here griping and complaining about the changes and fluster from bank bench TDs. But the core rules are 24 years old this year. Anyone who hasn’t gotten their head around them at this stage needs to consider how lucky they’ve been to date that they haven’t been hit with investigations or fines.

Will 2012 be the Year of Privacy? All the pundits think it will be. I expect to see Data Protection concerns being more prevalent in the media. I just hope our political classes are on the right side of the discussion and not bumbling into breaches as they have done before.