The Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), Helen Dixon, recently published her 2015 Annual Report. This report highlights the engaged and proactive approach her office is taking to safeguard data protection rights.
The DPC dealt with 14,427 queries via their dedicated information email address, email@example.com, an increase from 13,500 in 2014 and 12,000 in 2013. In addition, they dealt with 16,173 queries received by phone and 855 further queries by post. Furthermore, the report shows that 932 complaints were investigated with over 60% relating to access rights and 11% to electronic direct marketing, of which 94% were resolved amicably. The DPC made formal decisions in 52 cases, 43 of which fully upheld the complaint.
Last year a Special Investigations Unit was established to carry out pro-active investigations. This unit is headed by an Assistant Commissioner and where it identifies offending behaviour, it will use the Commissioner's full range of statutory powers to progess its investigations to an appropriate conclusion.
The government has significantly increased funding to the DPC for 2016, and its annual budget now exceeds €4.7 million which is an increase from €3.65m in 2015.
Publishing the report, Helen Dixon said “Significantly increased resources and ongoing recruitment, in particular of specialist experts, provided the means to grow and strengthen our capability to continue to shape the data protection environment, protect data rights and ensure proper compliance with data protection law.”
A brief overview of the report can be found below:
2015 Annual Report of the Data Protection Commissioner