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
    James Burkhardt (profile), 20 Jul 2018 @ 8:54am

    A lot of people complain about this, but it makes some sense. I used to get food stamps, when my income warranted it. At the same time, I used to get Medi-Cal (Californian Medicaid) under the Obamacare expansion.

    Despite Medi-Cal normally going through the same agency as Food doesn't in the case of the Obamacare expansion (or did not back when I was getting it in 2014).

    I was trying desperately to determine how to apply to Obamacare Medi-Cal, when I got a letter telling me I qualified based on info from my food stamps. And while that mess is due to mismanagement, the ability to disseminate my information to other agencies to determine my qualifications for other services, and speed up intake to my other services is excellent.

    That said, they need to do what everyone should be doing, explaining to me the savings in my time and effort if we allow different agencies to access my info, allow me to opt-in to sharing my data on a per agency basis, and provide easy opt out tools, at least an easy phone number to manage my data prefrences.

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