1,577 data security breaches reported last year - Data Protection Commissioner

Monday 12 May 2014 14.37
Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes publishes his office's report for 2013
Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes publishes his office's report for 2013

Audits of state organisations have in too many cases shown scant regard by senior management to their duty to safeguard personal data entrusted to them. 

That is according to the annual report for 2013 of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).

More than half of all the complaints made to the ODPC last year were from members of the public who experienced difficulties gaining access to personal data held by organisations. 

That number represents a record high for the ODPC, which says could have been avoided in many cases with better customer service. 

A total of 1,577 data security breaches were notified to the Commissioner's office last year, the largest as a result of the hacking of the customer databases of Co Clare based Loyalty Build. 

A recurring issue, according to the ODPC, was also the taking of client lists by employees departing from companies. 

The ODPC said it carried out 44 audits in 2013, including of An Garda Siochana. 

It also began an audit of Linked-In's European headquarters, which is based in Ireland. 

A sweep of the compliance of certain websites to rules regarding the use of Cookies - software used by websites which gather information about users - was also undertaken. 

In his foreword to the report, Commissioner Billy Hawkes welcomed the "long overdue debate" about state access to personal data that took place last year following the revelations by former US National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.  

The ODPC said it carried out 44 audits in 2013, including of An Garda Siochana. 

It also began an audit of Linked-In's European headquarters, which is based in Ireland. 

A sweep of the compliance of certain websites to rules regarding the use of Cookies - software used by websites which gather information about users - was also undertaken. 

In his foreword to the report, Commissioner Billy Hawkes welcomed the "long overdue debate" about state access to personal data that took place last year following the revelations by former US National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.