Minister fails to provide assurances over security of citizens’ data on Public Services Cards

August 30, 2017

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has raised strong concerns about the confidentiality and safety of citizens’ data held on Public Services Cards, which are currently required by a private US company which operates driver theory tests in Ireland.

Deputy Shortall said:

“The Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said today that some 50 public bodies have access to individuals’ private data that is stored on the Public Services Cards. This is a cause for concern, especially as the Minister failed to provide sufficient assurances about the safety and security of that data from the point of view of citizens. Many people are rightly worried about the security of their private information in terms of how it is stored, shared and accessed.

“I am not remotely reassured by Minister Doherty’s assertion that the Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 provides the necessary legal basis for the roll out of this card before people can access public services.

“We are seeing on an almost daily basis a creeping expansion of the requirement by public bodies for people to produce Public Services Cards before they can access public services. The fact that the cards are also required by the private American company Prometric before people can sit the state’s drivers’ theory test raises fresh concerns about the legal basis for the use of this data and whether it may be accessed or held overseas.

“We need to have watertight safeguards in place to protect citizens’ rights, and that requires legislation to be debated and passed by the Oireachtas specifically detailing which public and private sector bodies can access and share information held on these cards.”

ENDS

30 August 2017