Government waives utility card requirement

The controversial Public Services Card (PSC) will no longer be compulsory for most everyday public services, according to an agreement between the Department of Social Care and the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC).

The government had appealed the regulator’s 2019 decision on the matter, but has now accepted that it cannot require people to obtain a utility card for reasons such as applying for a passport or a driving license.

“The DPC welcomes the Department’s acknowledgment that in the absence of legislation specifically providing for this, other public sector bodies cannot require an individual to acquire a CSP as a pre-requisite for access to public services,” said said a DPC spokesperson. data regulator.

“To this end, at least one other option must now be provided in all cases where a person is required to verify their identity before accessing public services.”

The watchdog also said the settlement, reached out of court, means the Department of Social Protection will now have to reduce its stock of personal information from documents submitted for PSC applications.

“Significant adjustments must also be made to the Department’s approach to the retention of candidates’ personal information, recognizing that a system based on the general and indefinite retention of all information contained in the documents submitted in support of a PSC application failing to strike an appropriate balance between an applicant’s rights under data protection law and the other interests the Department seeks to protect,” the dog said today. on guard.

“The DPC looks forward to working with the Department on the development and implementation of its new systems.”