The data watchdog says it has "serious doubts" over the lawfulness of people's information being collected at airports in relation to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
The Data Protection Commission has confirmed all customers on some flights in recent months have been asked for their details.
It says it "can't see" how the practice of collecting information from all passengers just because they're leaving the country is within the powers of social welfare inspectors.
Around 287,000 people are currently receiving the pandemic unemployment payment.
A review by the Department of Social Protection has found 85 people had their payment cut for travelling abroad during the pandemic but could be entitled to it back.
Meanwhile, the Free Legal Advice Centres says the statement of the DPC only deepens FLAC’s concerns in relation to the activities of the Department of Social Protection at airports.
FLAC says "It is now incumbent on the Minister to instigate a review into the activities of Social Welfare Inspectors at airports and to ensure that Departmental policy properly reflects the limited powers that are available to agents of the Department at ports and airports."