Irish Lawmakers Realizing The GDPR's Consent Requirements Seem A Bit Onerous, Want To 'Infer' Consent

from the oh-wait,-that-takes-work dept

Once again, we find lawmakers who seemingly championed "strong privacy" rules like the GDPR suddenly freaking out when they realize such laws might apply to government bodies as well. Once again, we have Jason Smith at Indivigital to thank for highlighting the latest mess. This time it involves Irish lawmakers trying to figure out how different government agencies can share data between those agencies in order to provide better services. But, here's the problem: doing so without "consent" would seem to violate the basic concepts of the GDPR, so the Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, Patrick O'Donovan, decided to try to take the easy way out and say that the government should be able to "infer" consent, if someone made use of the government service in the past:

“That principle is accepted. It is a once only principle where if a person is availing of a service, it could be inferred that there is consent already contained in that by virtue of the fact that they have presented themselves to look for that particular support or service from the State.”

Now, personally, I agree that this seems like a perfectly reasonable standard for inferring consent under most reasonable conditions. But the problem is that the GDPR generally does not view things that way. This is yet another example of where people who view privacy through a singular lens of "don't do anything at all with my data," often fail to realize how extreme that position is, and how it limits perfectly normal functions.

But, in this case, it comes across as just another example of where governments are saying, "do as I say, not as I do..."

Filed Under: consent, data privacy, data protection, eu, gdpr, ireland, patrick o'donovan, privacy


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  1. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 7:54am

    Open the floodgates

    When someone starts to infer the right to share data, they will then infer with whom they can share that data with. The chain of inferences then becomes unmanageable and the data will then become universally known. There needs to be some limits to any suggestion of inference, the problem then becomes how to control those. Look at how our browsing habits and third party knowledge has become 'we own all your data'. This isn't right.

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