An FT article today covers the issue of data protection regulation in Ireland and the divergence between Irish regime and the emerging European trend toward greater protection: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/50fb3088-ed65-11e2-ad6e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ZBPI5mJ2
Removing all the usual bluster about 'one-stop-shop' and 'no light touch regulation here' that we hear from our authorities on a daily basis these days, the issue is of core importance to Ireland. Here's why:
ICT services are by now the sole most important contributor to the external balance of the country of all sectors, accounting for 14.93% of the entire credit side of the current account in Ireland and for 39.5% of Ireland's total services contribution to the credit side of the external balance.
And for a scary quote: ""We have great data protection laws in Germany but if Facebook is based in Ireland, then Irish law applies,” said Ms Merkel. “We wish that companies make clear to us in Europe to whom they give their data. This will have to be part of a [European] data protection directive.""
So, per usual, another comparative advantage to Ireland is being threatened? You bet!
H/T on the FT story: Philippe Legrain @plegrain