The office of Irish Data Protection Commissioner is currently pursuing 21 investigations against a number of tech companies and platforms in Ireland over how they handle customer’s personal data, according to Helen Dixon, the Commissioner.
Dixon was speaking at the Secure Computing Forum, which was organised by INM Events, part of Independent News & Media (INM) in the RDS in Dublin. The companies currently under investigation include Facebook, Twitter and Apple. If they are found negligent, they could face fines of up to 4% of their global turnover, Dixon said.
She was speaking at the Secure Computing Forum, sponsored by Independent News & Media, at the RDS in Dublin yesterday.
Ms Dixon laughed when the moderator, Irish Independent Technology Editor Adrian Weckler, asked her if Facebook – the target, along with its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram, in 11 of the probes – was “in big trouble”.
Noting authorities in Germany and the US were exploring anti-trust and other legal action against social media companies, Dixon said: “There’s a lot of regulators… circling now around the practices of big tech. There will be outcomes and consequences.” She also pointed out that in the US, the FTC imposed a record $5bn fine on Facebook for breaching users’ right to data privacy.
The Secure Computing Forum, hosted by specialist IT distributor DataSolutions and INM Events, was sponsored by Check Point and OneTrust and several hundred attendees were on hand to hear speakers talk about a wide range of topics from data privacy to cyber attacks and strategies. The conference was opened by the Minister for Justice & Equality, Charlie Flanagan and MC’ed by INM’s technology editor Adrian Weckler.
The keynote speaker John P Carlin, former Assistant Attorney General for the US Department of Justice’s National Security Division and Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to FBI Director Robert S Mueller III, also took to the stage during the morning to discuss the ongoing digital battle against hackers, online terrorist recruiters and spies.
The other keynote speaker, ex-hacker Mustafa Al-Bassam, talked about hacktivism* (hacking for political activism), as well as his experience within hacking group LulzSec which made headlines across the globe for a series of high-profile hacks.
Other speakers included Jamie Bartlett, technology journalist and author of The Dark Net; Paddy McGuinness, recent Deputy National Security Adviser in the UK’s Cabinet Office; Eddie Doyle, global security strategist at Check Point Research; Conor McCaffrey, Certified Information Privacy Professional and Privacy Consultant for OneTrust; and PJ Hough, executive vice president and chief product officer for Citrix.