Dáil: Data Protection Issues and the new regulations


Dáil: Data Protection Issues and the new regulations

In response to questions from Catherine Murphy TD, outgoing Minister Phil Hogan confirmed that data protection issues and online access to sensitive information on the new public building control register (BCMS ) was not his responsibility. This was the remit of the data protection commissioner, not an issue for his department. Link here.

Building Regulations Application: 1 Jul 2014: Written answers (KildareStreet.com) – Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Building Regulations Application

Catherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)

303. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the commencement notices are no longer being published at local authorities for viewing by members of the public; his plans to rectify same by making the centralised database of commencement notices available for inspection online; if he is further planning to include a mechanism to allow an opt-out for those not wishing to have their information used by suppliers and marketing companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27832/14]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

The Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2014 specify that a local authority acting as a building control authority shall keep a public register of building control activity which will include, among other things, brief particulars of the building works being undertaken, the name and address of the owner, and details of various persons assigned to build, design and certify the works.  Prior to 1 March 2014 each authority was responsible for maintaining its own register relating to building activity in its own functional area.  The introduction of the new online Building Control Management System (BCMS) on that date facilitates the administration of the public register requirement by electronic means and dispenses with the need for local authorities to maintain a physical register for inspection at their offices during office hours .   It is expected that each local authority will now fulfil its statutory obligation by extracting the relevant information from the BCMS database and publishing on its website a register of building control activity relevant to its functional area.

It is understood that the provisions of the Data Protection Acts, which are outside the scope of my remit as nister, place clear limits on the use of publicly available data for marketing or other purposes.  It is further understood that third parties who propose to use such information in this way are themselves considered to be data controllers for the purposes of the Data Protection Acts.  Section 2(8) of the Data Protection Acts provides that where a data controller anticipates that personal data will be processed or used for the purposes of direct marketing, including personal data that is required by law to be made available to the public, the data controller shall inform the persons to whom the data relates so that they may object, by means of a request in writing to the data controller and free of charge, to such use.

Breaches of Data Protection legislation are a matter for the Data Protection Commissioner who has the power to investigate such matters and, where appropriate, prosecute offences under the Acts.

Other posts of interest:

BReg Blog ALERT: Data Protection & BCMS – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”  – click link here

SI9- where do I start? – click link here

Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate – click link here

O’Cofaigh: Competitiveness issues & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here


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