Reappointment of a Commissioner for a second term by Government is provided for under the Data Protection Act 2018.
The Data Protection Commission (DPC) is the national independent authority in Ireland responsible for upholding the fundamental right of individuals in the European Union to have their personal data protected.
Justice minister Charlie Flanagan said that Helen Dixon is internationally well regarded for her expertise.
“This is a very important role as Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is the EU’s lead regulator for the many multinational companies based in this jurisdiction.
“I know that Helen is deeply committed to her role as Commissioner. She has launched a number of significant investigations into multinational companies’ alleged non-compliance with GDPR and it is crucial that she be allowed to see them through to completion. I look forward to engaging with her over the course of her second term,” he said.
Since Helen Dixon’s initial appointment, the Data Protection Commission (DPC) and its remit have expanded significantly.
The enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 introduced a new data protection landscape.
Complaints have increased from 910 in 2013 to 4,113 in 2018. From GDPR enactment in May last year until year-end alone, the DPC received 31,000 contacts.
The minister added “The Government has significantly increased the budget and resources available to the DPC, from €4.7m in 2016 to €15.3m for this year. “
Staffing has also been increased from 52 at the end of 2016 to 131 at present with plans to reach 160 by year end.
The DPC plays a key leadership role on the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) given that a significant number of people in every EU member state are potentially impacted by processing activities of the internet companies located in Ireland.
The DPC has led on the development of EDPB guidance on arrangements for Codes of Conduct under the GDPR.
The DPC has also launched a large-scale consultation on the processing of children’s data and will launch a consultation on a five year regulatory strategy in 2019.
Helen Dixon previously served as Irish Registrar of Companies where she led regulator enforcement of compliance with the filing provisions of the Companies Acts.
Dixon has also held senior roles in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, working on economic migration policy, science, technology and innovation policy.
She spent the first ten years of her career in the IT industry.
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows for the appointment of up to two additional commissioners – with one commissioner designated as chair.