Ireland is struggling to assume its role as European policeman to force the Gafa to respect the GDPR, which entered into force two years ago. Attracted by favorable taxation, these companies have chosen the island as their home port and it is therefore up to Dublin to supervise them on behalf of the European Union (EU), in particular as regards the use of data. personal.
The regulatory body, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), the equivalent of the French National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (Cnil), has admittedly opened numerous investigations but has not yet pronounced major penalties.
To the detriment of all Europeans?
” It is a boon for Ireland economically to house the European headquarters of these large digital groups which bring a lot of turnover An official of the European Commission told AFP on condition of anonymity.
” This of course entails obligations. With this role of chief regulator, the country has a duty to the citizens of all of Europe. Other European countries may become impatient if Ireland is too tender towards the Gafa.
It’s no secret that the American giants have chosen Ireland for a reason: the corporate tax rate is 12.5%, the lowest in Europe.
In 2018, for example, Facebook achieved a turnover of 25.5 billion euros and paid 63.2 million in taxes, according to the Irish Commercial Register.
Last year, these multinationals accounted for 77% of tax revenues paid by companies in the country, and 40% for the ten largest. Asked by AFP, the director general of the NGO Tax Justice Network, Alex Cobham, do not think twice and thinks that ” Ireland is a tax haven “.
16.9 million euros annual budget
While there is no evidence of any interference from the Irish government in regulating the digital giants, the DPC is funded in part by their taxes.
Its manager Helen Dixon said she was “disappointed” by the budget of 16.9 million euros allocated in 2020 by the government. Alex Cobham talks about “ austerity of regulation », With great ambitions but without sufficient resources.
By way of comparison, the CNIL in France operates with a budget of just over 20 million euros. In 2021, the budget of the DPC will be increased a little and will increase to 19.1 million euros. A sum still very far from the sums brewed by the groups she supervises.
The Irish regulator should be able to show the extent of his powers with a first major decision expected in November against Twitter which has been the subject of an investigation since January 2019. The question is whether the social network has informed, as it must according to the GDPR, within 72 hours the regulator after a breach in the protection of data for users.
Twitter faces fines of up to $ 140 million (4% of its estimated global revenue of $ 3.5 billion in 2019). Behind the credibility of the DPC is also that of the EU.