Data Commissioner queries access to social welfare info in airports

ireland
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The Data Protection Commissioner is questioning how the Department of Social Protection accessed information which they used to revoke the pandemic unemployment payment from 104 people who travelled abroad.

Helen Dixon has asked the department to explain their operations at Dublin Airport and how the information is being accessed by benefits inspectors, according to the Irish Examiner.

The DAA, which owns Dublin and Cork airports, is speaking to the Dáil's committee on Covid-19 today but have said it is not involved in the collection of any information in relation to people’s PPS numbers or if they are on the pandemic unemployment payment.

The DAA's chief financial officer, Ray Gray told the committee that information "might be obtained at the airport by other authorities" and that he had "no personal or professional information regarding who collects this data on passengers.”

Mr Gray added that agencies who may collect data on passengers at the airport do not need permission from the DAA to operate, but that such information "categorically, is not being collected by the DAA."

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Mr Gray said: “There are a series of stage agencies operating at airports. They operate under their mandate and arrangements, and do not require specific permission from us to operate, nor indeed do they have to inform us of their activities.”

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