Ireland: Government will 'very seriously' consider commissioner's report into Public Services Card - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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IrelandGovernment will 'very seriously' consider commissioner's report into Public Services Card

13:05  17 august  2019
13:05  17 august  2019 Source:   thejournal.ie

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The Data Protection Commissioner reject Government claims that making the card a requirement for services was lawful.

Watchdog finds Public Services Card breached data protection laws. The commission has asked the department to confirm whether it will publish the report itself within seven days The DPC findings are a disaster of the government ' s own making. "For years, ICCL has urged government to cease

Government will 'very seriously' consider commissioner's report into Public Services Card © Leah Farrell

FINANCE MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe said the Government will adhere to the timelines for a response laid out by the Data Protection Commissioner following the publication of a report into the Public Services Card.

The report outlines how there is no lawful basis for any department, except for the Department of Social Protection, for insisting a client obtain a PSC to use or access a public service.

The Government has repeatedly stated that including the PSC as a requirement to access state services was not a breach of any data protection laws.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1′s Drivetime programme this afternoon, Donohoe said that the report from the commissioner would have to be considered “very seriously” and that the Government would respond within the requested three-week period.

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Rollout of Public Services Card lacked 'coherence' - commissioner . Helen Dixon said the ruling by the commission , that some of the ways the cards were being used was illegal, means the Ms Dixon also said she felt that there was "nothing sinister" about the way the Government had rolled out the

In a highly critical report on its investigation into the card , the Data Protection Commission found there was no Ms Smyth asked what was the cost to the State and the taxpayer for the production of a card that had no legal status. Data commissioner ’ s ruling lifts the veil from Public Services Card .

Government will 'very seriously' consider commissioner's report into Public Services Card © Catalyst Images Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohue, speaking at the press conference after the government has approved the 3 billion National Broadband Plan (NBP) which aims to bring high-speed internet to more than 540,000 homes, farms and businesses across rural Ireland. On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Well the report that has been made by the Data Protection Commissioner is something we’re going to have to very seriously consider,” he said.

“[The commissioner] has laid down timelines that she expects the Government to adhere to and respond to and we will.

“Minister Doherty and I need to reflect on the report because while I would disagree with [...] describing it as a mess, it is clearly a serious issue that we need to respond to.”

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However, the Government says the card was introduced to facilitate ease of access to public services , that it helps providers to identify their customers to the highest level The commissioner ’ s office said it welcomed the clarity provided on some issues, but it confirmed it had also informed the

However, it has emerged the Government ' s Public Services Card is redundant when borrowers apply for personal credit reports from the Central Bank' s The Social Welfare Act 2005, and amendments to it, lists almost 50 bodies including the Revenue Commissioners , Health Services Executive, Central

The report also stated that all data collected on citizens as part of the PSC process must now be deleted.

Government will 'very seriously' consider commissioner's report into Public Services Card © Catalyst Images Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, during a press conference at Government Buildings in Dublin, announcing that there will be no change in LPT (Local Property Tax) bills by central Government until 2021. On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Asked if he would destroy the data currently being held on citizens, he said:

“All of those things in turn involve very significant cost and policy consequences, which in turn you will expect me to be able to answer questions about.

“What is important at this stage is that we consider the report. I think as the Data Protection Commissioner herself did today, it is important to acknowledge the motivation that is behind the roll out.

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The card was brought in to provide a way for people to access official services across Ireland "We think that' s a very significant issue about citizens rights and privacy rights and we think that The Data Protection Commissioner has carried out an investigation into whether the public services card

The Minister of State with responsibility for Disability Issues has said the legal basis of the Public Service Card should be discussed with the Data Protection Commissioner , Helen Dixon, and questions posed to her should be answered thoroughly.

“You have so many citizens that ask the question ‘why is it that we have to provide the same information again and again to access services from the State’.

“They ask the question ‘if I give my information once to the State should that not provide the foundation for being able to access the services?’

Donohoe also said that the Government, in rolling out the PSC in 2011, had acted “under the assurance that what we are doing is legal”.

He added: “We have offices like the DPC to hold Governments to account and make their views known in an independent manner. That’s happened and it’s serious and we will respond back.”

The minister said that as far as he was aware the cost of rolling out the PSC initiative came in at around €60 million.

The Public Services Card was first introduced back in 2011 – when 4,000 cards were issued in a pilot project. By 2019, over 3 million of them had been created.

The government said the card would increase efficiency in delivering public services, and help to tackle social welfare fraud.

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