Photo: / Agnieszka Pas

Ireland's Public Services Card 'Discriminates Against the Marginalised', Warns UN Rights Expert

– UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR)

  • News
  • Posted by Good ID team (Good ID)
  • 27 April 2020

In this press release, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, claims that the current attempt by the Irish government to implement its digital Public Services Card (PSC) is prejudicial against the people it’s supposed to support

Quoting Alston throughout, the UN OHCHR team note that not only do they believe the PSC system is unhelpful to the vulnerable in Ireland, it is also violating their privacy.

"Against this background, the negative impact of the PSC system on the human rights to privacy and data protection of poorer and more marginalised persons is unreasonable and disproportionate. Apart from the intrusion of being photographed and having that photo run through a facial recognition tool, there is also the need to reveal sensitive personal information to obtain the card, such as whether you are adopted, which in Ireland can raise especially painful concerns, Alston said."

Alston notes the Irish government has waived some PSC requirements during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but warns that this is an indication the system was “unduly burdensome.” UN OHCHR highlight that:

The real problem is that the current system, rather than being devised in a carefully thought-through way, is the result of endless adjustments and amendments to legislation adopted long ago

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