The Government has published its legislation programme for Autumn 2017.  The programme lists priority legislation, legislation due to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny, and all other legislation it is working on. Listed below are the data protection, cyber-security and IP-related Bills coming down the track.

Priority legislation

  • Data Protection Bill – This Bill will give effect to and provide for derogations from the GDPR, and transpose the Law Enforcement Directive (2016/680). The Heads of Bill were published in May 2017, and pre-legislative scrutiny was completed on July 2017.  The legislation programme lists the Bill as “priority legislation for publication” this Autumn, but there is no indication as to when exactly the Bill is expected to be finalised and start its passage through the Oireachtas. See our blog post on the Heads of Bill here.

Bills that are expected to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny

  • Communications (Retention of Data) Bill – The Heads of this Bill were published earlier this week. The Bill will revise and replace the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 in light of recent CJEU judgments, in particular the Tele2 case. It proposes a system of ‘prior judicial authorisation’ for access to communications data (i.e. billing data not the contents of communications) by the Garda Siochána and other agencies.  It also provides for Ministerial authorisation for the retention by service providers of targeted categories of traffic and location data for the prevention, investigation or prosecution of serious crime or safeguarding the security of the State. The Heads of the Bill are available here.
  • Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill – The legislation programme notes that this Bill “will amend various pieces of legislation in respect of electronic communications”, no further information is available.  The Heads of Bill were approved on 5th July 2016, but have not been published. Late last year, however, the Department of Justice and Equality published a policy document discussing why this area of law needs to be amended (see our blog here).
  • Data-Sharing and Governance Bill – This Bill provides a legal mechanism to facilitate lawful data-sharing and data–linking for public bodies, and define standards for data governance and security to be followed in any data sharing or data-linking activities. The Heads of the Bill are available here.

Other Legislation

  • Cybercrime Bill – This Bill will give effect to those provisions of the Convention on Cybercrime 2001 not already provided for in national law. The legislation programme notes that preparatory work is underway, but there is no indication as to when the Bill will be published. Earlier this year, the Government enacted the Criminal Justice (Offences Relating to Information Systems) Act 2017 which creates a number of cybercrime offences including: accessing or interfering with the functioning of an information system without lawful authority (e.g. hacking); interfering with data without lawful authority intercepting the transmission of data without lawful authority; and using a computer programme, password, code or data for the commission of any of the above offences.
  • Cyber Security Bill – This Bill will provide general powers to the Minister in respect of Cyber Security to transpose the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive, which is the first piece of EU-wide legislation on cybersecurity. Preliminary work is underway in the drafting of this Bill. Member States are required to transpose the NIS Directive by 9 May 2018.
  • Copyright and Related Rights (Amendment) (Miscellaneous Intellectual Property) Bill – This Bill will introduce a series of amendments to the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 aimed at modernising copyright and also to take account of certain exceptions to copyright permitted by Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society. The Heads of Bill were approved in July 2016, but have not been published. The Government’s Press Release notes that the Bill will improve access to the courts system for IP claims, in particular to facilitate lower value IP infringement cases to be brought before the District and Circuit courts.
  • Amendment of the Constitution (Unified Patent Court) Bill – This Bill will amend Article 29 of the Constitution to recognise the International Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. The Heads of Bill were approved on 23 July 2014, but have not been published.

We will keep you up-to-date with the progress of these Bills.