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Organisation Information

Government Data Forum

Published: 25 April 2018
From: Department of the Taoiseach

Digital technology has now become an essential fixture of almost every facet of modern life, and the need has been identified for dialogue on the societal issues arising from the continuing growth in generation and use of personal data. The Department of the Taoiseach has established a consultative forum to contribute to the discussion in this area.

In seeking to find a balance of voices, the forum brings together experts from a range of different areas: industry, civil society, sociologists, psychologists, legal experts and the public sector. Membership of the forum is on an entirely voluntary basis.

Membership - 2019

Chair: Minister Pat Breen T.D., Minister of State with special responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business the Digital Single Market and Data Protection.

  • Ann Henry, Vice Chairperson, Intellectual Property Committee, Law Society of Ireland
  • Anne Rooney, Head of Public Policy and Government Relations, Google EMEA HQ
  • Anne Vaughan, Chair, National Statistics Board
  • Barry Lowry, Government CIO, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
  • Ciaran Conlon, Director of Public Policy, Microsoft Ireland
  • David Fennelly, Barrister, Law Library
  • Donal Flavin, Strategic Policy Manager, IDA Ireland
  • Dualta O’Broinn, Head of Public Policy, Ireland, Facebook
  • Prof. Eoin O'Dell, Associate Professor, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin
  • Harry McCann, Founder and Committee Member, Digital Youth Council
  • John O'Connor, Chair, Irish Branch of the Society for Computers and Law
  • Karen White, Director Public Policy, Europe, Twitter
  • Kathleen Stack, Assistant Secretary, Department of Social Protection
  • Dr. Martyn Farrows, COO, Soapbox Labs
  • Rob Corbet, Partner, Head of Technology and Innovation, Arthur Cox
  • Prof. Rob Kitchin, National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis, Maynooth University
  • Sam Sharps, Apple
  • Seamus Carroll, Civil Law Reform Division, Department of Justice and Equality
  • Suzanne Duke, Director for Privacy Policy, Europe, LinkedIn
  • Dr. TJ McIntyre, Chair, Digital Rights Ireland
  • William Fadden, Data Protection Officer, Revenue Commissioners

Terms of reference for Government Data Forum

In October 2014 the government acknowledged the need for a whole of government approach to the area of the digital economy in the context of emerging global trends that see both society and industry make ever greater and innovative use of personal data as a resource.

Ireland will act internationally as a leader in data protection related issues and will be viewed internationally as a showcase for 'best in class' regulation.

Bearing in mind the new issues, challenges and opportunities which continue to arise in almost every facet of modern life, from the growth of the digital economy and the increasing role of digital technology, a forum comprised of industry, civil society and academia will be established.

The forum is expected to operate in a co-operative and constructive manner, engaging on issues of interest to the sector rather than participant-specific issues. It will be chaired by Dara Murphy, Minister of State with responsibility for Data Protection.

The forum will:

  • advise on how best to advance the data protection roadmap, particularly in relation to how Ireland could move to achieve the stated aim of being ‘best in class’ in terms of its data protection regime, looking particularly at defining ‘best in class’ in this context
  • advise on how best to achieve the vision that Ireland will act internationally as a leader in data protection related issues and will be viewed internationally as a showcase for best in class regulation
  • in doing so, learn from the experiences of forum members, both nationally and internationally
  • assess and advise on the potential for development and job creation in the digital economy
  • advise on the research (R&D) and skills development Ireland should prioritise
  • advise on the potential to harness economic benefit from government data and to promote entrepreneurship from open data tools
  • examine, advise and assist government understanding on the societal implications of the growth in the generation and use of personal data
  • advise on how the right balance is found in safeguarding personal information and privacy and fundamental rights
  • advise on areas where legislative reform may be considered
  • act as a 'sounding board' for new proposals and proposed changes to the regulatory approach
  • act as a forum for knowledge sharing and exchange of views
  • consider other matters deemed relevant to its brief

Minutes of Government Data Forum Meetings.