Government Moving to Complete Data Protection Bill

Author  Edited from CMC

KINGSTON, Jamaica– The Jamaica government says it is moving “rapidly” to complete the Data Protection Bill, which would provide citizens with the requisite safeguards to control their personal information online.

dataScience, Energy and Technology Minister Fayval Williams said the bill supports the fundamental right of every Jamaican to have their privacy protected, and will complement the new national identification (ID) system that the government intends to implement.

“The courts have looked at it (national ID system) and made a pronouncement, so we will have to go back and look at it again, but we’re coming back with it,” said Williams.

“All that data that is collected about them (citizens of Jamaica), they’ll have a right to know who is collecting, what are they collecting [and] what are they using it for.”

GUIDELINES

The Data Protection Bill, which is before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, provides guidelines on how personal data should be collected, processed, stored, used and disclosed in physical or electronic form.

It requires that data should only be obtained for specific lawful purposes, with the consent of the individual, and not be further used or processed in any way incompatible with the original purpose.

It also stipulates that the data collected must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; must not be held for longer than is necessary for the original purpose; must be protected using appropriate technical and organizational measures, and be disposed of in accordance with the regulations.

The bill further provides that data must not be transferred to a state or territory outside of Jamaica, unless that state or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of the individual from whom the data has been collected.

In May, Williams said the Joint Select Committee of Parliament would be re-convened no later than June, in an effort to have the Data Protection Bill approved in this financial year.

She said that having gone through public consultations; the committee will now look at the recommendations and take the act back to Parliament.

FIRST STEP

Meanwhile, the government says that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Authority Bill, which was passed in the House of Representatives last month, is a first step in putting all of government on the same technology platform.

“It’s to bring all the government’s ICTs under one roof, so the government speaks with one voice about ICT and we can deploy the platform across government. This is just the beginning, but it’s starting,” Williams noted.

The bill also facilitates transfer of the functions of eGov Jamaica Limited and the Office of the Chief Information Officer to the ICT Authority to be established.

“The e-Gov… (is) going to transition into the ICT Authority with laws so, for the first time, we’re going to have an entity that has the backing of law to be able to say to the other Ministries, here are the policies,” she noted.

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