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The ieBusiness Podcast: Data watchdog Helen Dixon on regulating big tech

Data protection commissioner Helen Dixon has effectively become the de facto regulator for Big Tech in Europe.

Many large multinationals have chosen Ireland as a base for their European headquarters for reasons including a favourable tax regime, and, while this is good for corporation tax receipts, it has put pressure on Ireland to lead by example through the regulation of these firms.

Ms Dixon has therefore not been devoid of criticism in her role and the watchdog that she oversees has on occasion been referred to as soft in reference to the sanctions given to tech firms for data protection breaches.

“We don’t say we’ve gotten everything right, we don’t say we’ve achieved everything. There’s lots more to do,” said Ms Dixon.

Ms Dixon joined business reporter Cáit Caden in this week’s episode of The ieBusiness Podcast, in association with PwC, to discuss serving out her last year in the role with the Data Protection Commission, what advice she would give to her successor and how the DPC does not view the European Data Protection Board as “any challenge to its authority” when enforcing sanctions.

Ms Dixon was also finalising her investigation into TikTok when she was a guest on the podcast and although she could not talk about it at the time, Ms Dixon gave her insights about how some Big Tech firms interact with the data of child users.

It has since been reported that TikTok was hit with a €345m fine by the DPC for illegally processing data belonging to minors.

Find a new episode of The ieBusiness Podcast every Thursday morning wherever you get your podcasts