Last year was a record year for data protection complaints and reports of data security breaches.

The annual report of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has warned that it will need extra resources to deal with its responsibilities under new EU laws.

There were 1,161 complaints made to the data protection commissioner in 2011, the highest ever received by the office.

The number of notices of data security breaches was also up 300%.

Commissioner Billy Hawkes said he believes this is due to an increased awareness about the need to notify the office rather than an increase in incidents.

Among the office’s findings last year were that Swan Leisure Centre in Rathmines requests for personal and medical details were excessive and unacceptable.

It was found that Allianz was seeking excessive personal information for pet insurance quotes.

Westwood Swimming Ltd in Leopardstown was found to have had improperly used CCTV to monitor its staff.

The office found that some financial institutions were not complying in full with requests for access to credit assessments.

In 2011, the commissioner carried out 28 audits, with one of Facebook being the largest ever undertaken by the office.

Under new EU legislation, the office could find itself with greater responsibility for multi-national companies based in Ireland.

It said it could not carry out these duties without additional resources.

It also warned that failure to adequately discharge its responsibilities could cause significant reputational risks to Ireland.