Digital Rights Ireland

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Digital Rights Ireland is a digital rights advocacy and lobbying group based in Ireland. The group works for civil liberties in a digital age.

Telecommunications data retention[edit]

In 2012,[1] the group brought an action before the Irish High Court, who subsequently made a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union to take legal action[2][3] over telecommunications data retention which is provided for by the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act, 2005.[4]

Digital Rights Ireland argues that the act has led to Gardaí accessing retained data without having a specific crime to investigate, citing remarks by the Data Protection Commissioner.[5]

On 8 April 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared the Directive invalid in response to a case brought by Digital Rights Ireland against the Irish authorities and others.[1][6][7]

File sharing[edit]

The Irish Recorded Music Association has sent letters to people it accuses of file sharing their music, demanding damages for financial losses.[8] One issue is how the files belonging to the alleged file-sharers were searched. MediaSentry software was used to search their machines, but as it doesn't limit itself to searching only folders used for file sharing, this led to questions of violation of privacy. MediaSentry itself is based in the United States, which has less legislation about data protection than the European Union. This has been an issue in cases in the Netherlands[9] and France.[10]

Another issue is Internet service providers being compelled to identify users.[11]

Current action still causes concern to DRI.[12]

Former TD Dr. Jerry Cowley has requested[13] that the complaints referee investigate whether his telephone is being tapped. DRI expressed concern, noting that there is no Irish equivalent of the Wilson Doctrine in Irish law. Fine Gael has also shown concern at the number of telephone taps authorised by former Minister for Justice Michael McDowell.[14] DRI said that the reasons for withholding the information was unacceptable.

Other areas of work[edit]

Other issues addressed by the group include:

  • ID cards[15]
  • Electronic passports[16]
  • Online defamation[17]
  • Leaking of confidential information by civil servants[18][19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Case number C-293/12". Court of Justice of the European Union. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Digital rights group sues Irish government — report, 14 September 2006, accessed 20 December 2006.
  3. ^ State may face legal challenge over its access to phone dataThe Irish Times newspaper article, 29 July 2006.
  4. ^ Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act, 2005
  5. ^ DRI comments on Data Protection Commissioners' comments
  6. ^ "ECJ Press Release in Digital Rights Ireland Data Retention case" (PDF). Court of Justice of the European Union. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Judgment of the ECJ in Digital Rights Ireland data retention challenge". Court of Justice of the European Union, via Scribd. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Commission Nationale de I’Informatique et Libertes (CNIL) announcement that it would not permit automated monitoring of P2P file sharers. (In French)
  10. ^ DRI comments on an ISP being ordered to hand over details of users
  11. ^ DRI comments on a Mayo TD who requested information on his phone apparently being tapped
  12. ^ DRIs concerns about phone tapping are apparently shared by Fine Gael
  13. ^ DRI link to talk on ID cards and PPS numbers
  14. ^ DRI comments on vulnerabilities of electronic passports
  15. ^ Digital Rights Ireland » Defamation
  16. ^ Welfare Records Leaked to Insurers
  17. ^ Yet more social welfare leaks
  18. ^ Even more social welfare leaks

External links[edit]