The European Commission Vice President has called on regulators to stop squabbling over the enforcement of data protection rules or face the possibility of a centralised model.
Vera Jourova, speaking to Bloomsberg, said: “Such public squabbles don’t contribute to the creation of mutual trust, and I can only appeal to data-protection authorities to focus on the issues and improve their cooperation”
“If it turns out this is not possible, then we would have to consider an intervention probably in the direction of a more centralized model.”
The comments follow a dispute between a European Parliament Committee and the Irish Data Protection Commission.
The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee last week adopted a resolution calling on the Irish and Luxembourg Data Protection Authorities to “speed up their investigations into major cases”. Helen Dixon, Irish Data Protection Commissioner, had previously described comments complaining her office has been too slow to fine big tech companies as “ludicrous”.
Another draft resolution by the Civil Liberties Committee last year criticised the Irish DPC for shifting costs of legal action on to campaigner Max Schrems. It called on the European Commission to start infringement procedures against Ireland for not properly enforcing data protection regulations.
Dixon denies that the Irish DPC sought costs from Schrems, and said in a letter to the Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee last month, that the account of the events is “both inaccurate and incomplete”
The letter also said the Irish DPC is “the only supervisory authority to engage with EU-US transfers in a meaningful way, or at all”. These comments were disputed and strongly criticised by Germany’s federal data protection regulator (BfDI) Ulrich Kelber.
The watchdog reportedly asked the Irish government for more resources ahead of the Budget last October. The commission felt “acutely strained” as it dealt with cases involving giant multi-national tech companies and an increasing
The role of de facto regulator for Europe has been thrust upon Ireland because many multi-national companies are based in the country.
The Irish DPC in December fined Twitter €450,000 in the first cross-border GDPR penalty.
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