BIG DATA: Seán Kelly MEP hosts GDPR Conference at University College Cork

20 June 2018
By Mary Bermingham

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) incentivise businesses to innovate and develop new ideas, methods, and technologies for security and protection of personal data, Seán Kelly MEP and Leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament told a major conference at University College Cork last week.

John Keyes, Assistant Commissioner Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, Ronan Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Smarttech, Erik O’Donovan, Head of Digital Economy Policy, IBEC and Sean Kelly MEP arriving at the GDPR networking breakfast meeting at Aras na Laoi, UCC. Photographer: Billy macGill

Mr Kelly hosted the public conference in Cork on the new General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force just last month, along with expert speakers John Keyes, Assistant Commissioner at the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner; Erik O’Donovan, Head of Digital Economy Policy at Ibec; GDPR and Cyber Security; and Ronan Murphy, Chief Executive Officer with Smarttech (pictured).

“The GDPR is the biggest and most significant overhaul of privacy law in two decades, so it was an honour for me to be nominated to author the Parliament’s report from the Industry and Research perspective,” Mr Kelly told attendees, explaining his role in leading negotiations on the legislation for the European People’s Party.

The Ireland South MEP also spoke of the challenge to guarantee citizen’s rights to privacy while encouraging business innovation:

“There is a perception that Europe needs to rediscover its innovative mojo – it is telling that most of the major industrial giants in Europe are the product of innovation from the 19th and early 20th century. Meanwhile, our American colleagues are driving forward with innovation. Therefore, as policymakers, it must be our number 1 priority to provide a favourable legislative environment to allow legitimate innovation to flourish if we are to see another Renaissance of European creativity.

“At the same time, we must also ensure that our citizens’ fundamental rights are protected, including the right to the protection of personal data, which is enshrined in Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

Mr Kelly said lawmakers are especially conscious of the need to ensure Small and Medium Enterprises are able to generate a sustainable revenue stream online:

“From a European perspective, we must clarify regulation and make it smart, flexible, responsive and outcomes focused, rather than restrictive, bureaucratic and focused on box ticking. I would like to reiterate that the right to data protection and the right of businesses to innovate are not conflicting rights. It is about striking the right balance,” he added.

Attendees had the opportunity to take ask the conference panel questions about the practical implementation of the GDPR, its impact on business and user rights on Friday last.

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