European Data Protection Digest

Commissioner Not Consulted Before Household Charge Act


March 23, 2012

The Irish Times reports that Ireland Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes says he was not consulted by the government prior to the introduction of the Household Charge Act. Hawkes said he was "somewhat surprised" that his office was not included in crafting legislation that allows the government to access consumer data. The Household Charge Act would allow the state to collect a €100 charge from individuals who do not pay their utility bills, the report states. Hawkes wants to ensure that a minimum level of personal information is taken from a consumer in the process. "We would have preferred if those conditions were actually built into the law itself," he said, adding, "but now we're playing catch-up." A protocol is reportedly being negotiated between Hawkes' office and the Department of Environment to ensure that the appropriate level of consumer data is accessed by the government. Meanwhile, officials met this week to develop guidelines for data sharing among public bodies. The Data Sharing Clearing House will also consult interested parties who are concerned about the development of the new guidelines.
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