Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (470)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

470. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Defence the number of data access requests the Defence Forces and the Directorate of Military Intelligence have made to telecom companies and social media companies here in the past three years to date in 2020 under the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011; the number of access requests that were approved and declined by the companies that the data was requested from; and the reason the data was sought. [38851/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

It has not been possible in the time available to prepare a substantive response to the question from the Deputy.

A response to the question will be prepared and forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 51
The information was not available in advance of the deadline for Parliamentary Questions response. However, I can now confirm that military authorities have informed me that the Defence Forces made applications for data requests as follows:

Year

Number of Defence Forces applications

2019

245

2018

288

2017

427

The figure for 2020 will be prepared at year end and are therefore not yet available.
The Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 governs the retention of certain communications data and access to such data by the Defence Forces and certain other statutory bodies. Under the provision of Section 6(2) of the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 an officer of the Permanent Defence Force not below the rank of Colonel may make a disclosure request to a service provider where the data is required for the purpose of safeguarding the security of the State.
The military authorities have advised that all applications were granted and that all applications were made in respect to the relevant provisions of the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011. In addition the military authorities have confirmed that all applications submitted pertained to matters relating to the security of the State.