Google Speaks Out Against Irish Data Retention Plans

Digital Rights Ireland are represented by McGarr Solicitors (where I hang my scarf of a workday).

They’re currently in litigation with the Government about the introduction of Data Retention across Europe. Recently, the Irish Times reported that a government order to keep details of internet use by everyone in Ireland was imminent. Also reported was that the plan was that this be done by way of Ministerial Order (rather than passed as a law after a debate in the Oireachtas).

DRI made their opinions of this clear. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t in favour of the plan.

But now a much louder voice has spoken out against the Government’s plans. Google (employer of some hundreds of Irish staff just beside the Taoiseach’s constituency) has come out with a specifically local comment, from their European Policy Manager for Ireland Iarla Flynn;

Data Retention In Ireland

The gist;

Ireland looks set to be amongst the first countries to transpose the directive. Concerns have been expressed that sufficient time may not be available for a full debate to discuss the very complex issues involved. There is also a real risk that a rushed transposition process could produce legislation which negatively impacts on consumer privacy and is harmful to the internet and telecomms sector. Our view is that it is vital that the reasonable concerns of privacy advocates and industry are taken into account. Google is going to take advantage of the current window of opportunity to get our views across, and we hope that other interested parties will do likewise.

What happens to the government’s plans after Google gets their views across will be an interesting test of the power of the conflicting interests of the Departments of Justice and Enterprise.

1 Comment

  • I suspect there will be lots of kerfuffle below the waterline with an apparent serene dance performed in public view. There will then be a period of ‘consultation’ and ‘debate’ while a deal is cut with Google about some tax reliefs – grants wouldn’t be an incentive to Google McMoneybags.

    What will be interesting to see is whether other telecomms or internet companies in Ireland (such as our ISPs who were so kind to IRMA in the past) fall in behind Google’s coat tails.

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