Irish Coverage of the Safe Harbour Ruling

Irish Coverage of the Safe Harbour Ruling

Planet Facebook or Planet Earth? by Paul Butler @paulgb
Planet Facebook or Planet Earth? by Paul Butler @paulgb

With many of the HQs based in Dublin and the Irish Data Commissioner arguably one of the most powerful men in Europe in this regard, how the Irish media report the Safe Harbour Ruling and cover data protection by the local social media giants calls for some critical inspection. Or at least an effort to build up a picture of how Irish news media are treating this story.

Overall coverage in Ireland was less than expected given the nature of those involved. But data protection isn’t a consistent top tier news issue for any of the Irish titles in the same way it has been in the Guardian, NY Times, Washington Post or The Intercept.

There was little championing of the decision to protect Irish and European data from unwarranted storage and use by the American Security Agencies. Or highlighting the fact that commercial companies, many of whose HQ’s are based in Ireland and were welcomed for the business they brought were complicit in handing data to foreign government. The main theme of the coverage was to report the courts decision and the next step for the data commissioner. ‘Objectivity’ no doubt is the value of the day.

Galting and Ruge gave us the list of common news values and this story hits them all. Closeness to home, negativity, elite persons, elite institutions, both recency and currency. But then a news titles news values and interpretation are their own and balanced against the strength of other stories.  Perhaps they think the “it’s great they are here but they’re practices are questionable ” narrative isn’t simple enough.

Here are some of the early reports:

Going for some straight forward reportage theJournal.ie’s Europe’s top court has torn up the rules on how US tech giants use your data:

For the Irish Times the decision meant a ‘big headache for data commissioner’ and some further reportage Safe Harbour ruling: Privacy campaigners consider implications

The Independent focus on Irish users, data Facebook users in Ireland in limbo after court ruling

And the Irish Examiner offer two similar stories covering the ruling with European Court of Justice rules Facebook/US web data agreement invalid and Personal data treaty has been ruled invalid

In contrast the headache the Irish Times predict for the data commissioner RTE report’s he welcomes the decision in European court online data ruling welcomed

But as well as how the Irish reportage, the international media have turned their attention to Ireland. So let’s take a look at some of the international coverage and see how it compares.

The Guardian who have the data privacy beat and the global audience to go with it carry a positive report on how Ireland pushed for the ruling in spite of Facebook’s HQ being in the capital, tackling the elephant in the room head on. Surprisingly Irish media did not push this this noble narrative very strongly. Ireland, Facebook’s European base, pushed to act on ‘safe harbour’ ruling

Business Insider UK go with an explainer including Ireland’s role so far,  Everything you need to know about the pivotal Max Schrems-Facebook case

But the Financial Times pretty much hit the nail on the head with an insightful piece, Ireland’s role as EU’s chief privacy regulator in spotlight

No doubt there will be more coverage to come and how the Irish media tease out the two somewhat conflicting narratives of celebrating  Twitter and Facebook ‘choosing Ireland’  and the questionable practices the companies operate here will be interesting to see.

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