European Data Protection Day next Sunday – 5 Ways to Protect Your Privacy

Next Sunday, the 28th of January, is the inaugural Council of Europe Data Protection day.

Our view is Data privacy is something for every individual to look after. Private companies, government, hospitals, all store information on you.

You are entitled to view that information if you want to.

You are entitled by law to have incorrect information about you removed or amended.

Digital Rights Ireland suggests 5 ways to protect your data and personal information.

1. Stop SMS Spam

Did you enter into a competition, put your mobile phone number on a form, or give your number to a company for any reason?

Are you now getting SMS messages about “winning a competition-with no prize”, new services or other information you don’t want to know about?

If so your mobile number has been provided to someone sending SMS spam.

Unsolicited SMS text messages are against the law in Ireland.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner explains simply what the law is regarding unwanted SMS messages.

What can you do?
First, do not delete the message.

You can make a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner, by e-mailing them.

Click here to send then a complaint, with the number the SMS came from, your telephone number, the date and time of the message and the text of the message.

For full details please read the information on making a complaint, or read our guideto dealing with SMS spam.

2. E-Mail the Minister for Justice and request him to stop spying on all Irish individuals.

The Minister for Justice has been responsible for laws requiring telephone companies to track the movements of everyone with a mobile phone and monitor every email you send. Digital Rights Ireland have brought la egal action to stop this.

You can e-mail the Minister for Justice, and ask him to stop.

3. Stop getting junkmail and junk telephone calls

Are you continously receiving unsolicited telephone calls from companies, receiving unsolicited mail from direct marketing companies?

If so, you have the right to have your details removed from that database. You can exercise this right simply by writing to the organisation concerned. The organisation must write back to you within 40 days confirming that they have dealt with your request.

You can also make a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner. Click here to make a complaint via their website

You can read the full “Consumer Guide to Dealing with Unsolicited Direct Marketing” as published by the Data Protection Commissioner here.

4. Make a personal information request.

If a company, mobile phone company, telephone company, insurance company, local authority or any other body has information stored about you, you have the right to obtain a copy, clearly explained, of any information relating to you.

All you need to do is write to the organisation or individual concerned and ask for it. By email is fine.

Your request could read as follows:

Dear …

I wish to make an access request under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 for a copy of any information you keep about me, on computer or in manual form. I am making this request under section 4 of the Data Protection Acts.

You can read the full guidelines on the Data Protection Commissioners website.

You should note that you may be asked to pay a fee, but this cannot exceed €6.35.

Once you have made your request, and paid any appropriate fee, you must be given the information within 40 days, although most organisations manage to reply much sooner.

5. Donate to Digital Rights Ireland.

Digits Rights Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to defending Civil, Human and Legal rights in a Digital age Your support is greatly needed to help us continue our work.

There are a number of ways you can support us:

1. make an on-going donation.
2. make a once off donation.
3. or buy one of our t-shirts. We have a number to choose from.

And until Sunday 28th January we are dropping the price of the t-shirts to cost price, so make sure you get one now!

Please help us make European Data Protection Day a success. Please tell your friends and family about our work.