Minister cannot guarantee Public Services Card data will be secure from hackers

Regina Doherty says security of the data is a 'very serious' matter for the Government

Minister cannot guarantee Public Services Card data will be secure from hackers

Regina Doherty. Picture by: Barry Cronin/PA Archive/PA Images

The Minister for Social Protection says she cannot guarantee the protection of data from hackers, but says they are taking security "very, very seriously".

Regina Doherty was responding to concerns over the collection of the data for the Public Services Card.

There has been an increasing backlash from opposition parties against the plans to make the card mandatory for services such as renewing a passport.

The information stored on the card could be supplied to up to 50 different state bodies.

Regina Doherty herself has previously said the new card is not "compulsory" - but added that it is "mandatory" if you want to claim benefits from her department.

Speaking to Sarah McInerney on her new show Between the Lines on Newstalk, Minister Doherty says it would not be honest of her to guarantee the data will not be leaked - although insisted everything is being done to avoid that possibility.

She explained: "We are ensuring security of the data is being taken at the most serious level in the Department of Social Protection - as it is in every department.

"The data is obviously as secure as it can be, using the latest technology that we have available to us. We value and we understand & appreciate the privacy & security of that data, and that's why we take it very, very seriously."

Minister Doherty added: "But to give a guarantee would probably be futile of me, given some of the most secure agencies in America have been hacked."

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