Shatter calls for balance in data protection laws

Tuesday 09 April 2013 23.17
Alan Shatter is the current chair of the EU Council of Justice and Home Affairs ministers
Alan Shatter is the current chair of the EU Council of Justice and Home Affairs ministers

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said it is very important that a balance is struck during the framing of new European legislation on data protection.

Speaking to the media at a conference on 'big data' at Croke Park this morning, Mr Shatter said it is important that the new framework affords citizens their right to privacy.

He said at the same time it should not put extra costs on businesses.

Mr Shatter is the current chair of the EU Council of Justice and Home Affairs ministers.

The new regulations, which are currently being negotiated at European council, commission and parliamentary level, will see a harmonised system of data protection across the union.

Mr Shatter said that he is optimistic that by the time the Irish presidency of the EU comes to an end, there will have been very substantial developments in the area.

He could not say for certain whether there would be a "right to be forgotten" enshrined in the new rules because of the technical difficulties around that.

But he said he personally believes such a right is very important.

Earlier, Mr Shatter told the conference that the Government's intention is to make Ireland one of the leading places in the world for 'big data'.

He said the sector is growing 40% annually. But he added that it is important that regulators ensure privacy standards keep pace with developments in areas like big data.

Big data involves using cutting edge computer tools to quickly extract new information from very large data sets.

The results can then be used for a variety of purposes including transport and other infrastructural planning, medical research and e-commerce.

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