DUBLIN (Reuters) – The Irish government on Wednesday said it will appoint two additional commissioners to Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, lead regulator in Europe for tech giants Alphabet Inc’s Google, Meta Platforms unit Facebook, Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc).
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the appointments will support existing commissioner Helen Dixon and improve the commission’s ability to handle an increased workload and increasingly complex investigative requirements.
Ireland regulates a number of large U.S. internet giants because their European Union headquarters are in the country, but its DPC has been criticised for long, plodding investigations into big tech multinationals. Pressure has been building for a pan-European approach to data and privacy protection.
Dixon’s office has so far completed three investigations of multinationals under new EU privacy rules introduced in 2018, including hitting WhatsApp with a 225 million euro fine last year.
Speaking to Reuters in February, Dixon said staffing at the regulator has increased to 195 from 27 in 2014 and the numbers needed to be increased more. However, she dismissed calls for another two commissioners to be appointed to speed up the processing of the backlog in cases.
“We don’t think a three-headed organisation will improve some of the issues that we have talked about in terms of perception of speed,” she said.
Last month, the head of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Wojciech Wiewiorowski, called for a pan-European data protection enforcement model to ensure consistent high-level protection of fundamental rights to data protection and privacy across the European Union. [L1N2Y41L6]
(Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by David Gregorio)