Privacy: A Concept in Search of a Bill (just not this one)

Government’s propose; oppositions oppose. It’s what they do. The government has proposed a Privacy Bill. Predictably, Fine Gael, one of the main opposition parties, has called for the Privacy Bill to be scrapped. Yesterday’s call, reported in today’s Irish Times, is not their first: when the Bill was first proposed last July, Fine Gael opposed it then too.

But although the business of opposition is to oppose, there is much to be said for Fine Gael’s position. While we might need a Privacy Bill, it’s becoming clear that we don’t need the government’s current proposed Bill. Its focus on press intrusion is both overinclusive (in that it has the potential significantly to restrict investigative reporting) and underinclusive (in that it barely covers invasions of privacy otherwise than by the press). As I have said elsewhere, the government needs to look again at this privacy bill.