The Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, has announced that she will step down from her position in February 2024 after serving for a decade. Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has imposed almost €3 billion in fines on Big Tech firms over the past two years, making her the world's most powerful privacy regulator. Ms Dixon confirmed the news today, saying that it has been an honour to have served in her current role and that she looks back with great satisfaction at what the DPC has achieved over the last nine and a half years. Initially, Ms Dixon declined to comment on her next move, stating, "new pastures await me in 2024."
In a related IAPP article, Omar Tene, Partner at Goodwin Procter LLP Law, writes that her departure "marks the end of an era in technology regulation." In his review of her tenure, Tene said that Ms Dixon was "a paragon of judicious, balanced, disciplined and principled enforcement and regulation. She transformed the DPC from a small regional office to a Dublin-headquartered powerhouse with more than 220 expert staff, including some of the leading minds in privacy regulation anywhere in the world."
On Thursday, Ireland's Department of Justice paid tribute to Ms Dixon as she prepares to depart from her tenure as Data Protection Commissioner. The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD thanked Ms Dixon for the dedication, strength, and vision she brought during her time in the position. The statement explained that the DPC played a pioneering role in enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across Europe as the lead supervisory authority for numerous technology and internet platform companies with EU headquarters in Ireland. The DPC issued two-thirds of the fines across Europe, including the EU, EEA, and UK, underlining its significant role and positive record in data regulation. Departmental funding has risen steadily and consistently over recent years, ensuring the Commission has the resources to fulfil its statutory obligations. Ms Dixon will leave in February next year to become the Commissioner to the Commission of Communications Regulation.
According to The Irish Times, Ms Dixon's attention will shift from companies like Facebook and Microsoft to Three, Eir, and Sky Ireland when she moves to the communications regulator in the Spring of 2024.
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