TJ McIntyre writes:
The appointment of Helen Dixon as the new Data Protection Commissioner has attracted worldwide attention, due to the number of US multi-nationals which have set up headquarters in Ireland.
It was one of two recent developments which have major significance for privacy in Ireland and elsewhere in the years ahead.
Ms Dixon’s appointment makes her responsible for the personal data of hundreds of millions of European users of companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Microsoft.
The presence of these firms in Ireland creates challenges for Ms Dixon. She will be overseeing some of the largest companies in the world – and doing so with only 31 staff and limited enforcement powers compared to other regulators.
These challenges were highlighted by the second development – the finding by a New York court that Microsoft was in contempt of court by refusing to hand over user emails and other information stored in its Dublin data centre.