Mark Tighe has an important story in today’s Sunday Times about apparent abuse by a garda of the data retention system. Unfortunately it’s behind a paywall, but I’ve taken the liberty of scanning the hardcopy and placing it here as it raises a number of fundamental questions about the safeguards which are in place against abuse and the likelihood of further abuse now that the 2011 Act has extended data retention to internet use also.
Read more in IT Law in Ireland.
The type of situation Tim discusses is one we’ve seen many times here and elsewhere – a police officer misuses or exceeds access to a police database for personal reasons – to snoop on an ex- or a family member or to get information to help a friend. The article also dips into a separate issue – the disclosure of how many times each year law enforcement uses its surveillance powers to tap or access citizens’ phone records.
We have no idea how often police databases are improperly accessed for personal reasons here in the U.S.
We have no idea how often it happens in the U.K.
Now we have no idea how it happens in Ireland.
Lack of genuine transparency is a global problem in privacy.