Tech minister urges companies to digitise paper files

Tech minister urges companies to digitise paper files

Data protection Bill to be brought before Parliament

Business reporter

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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Minister of Energy, Science and Technology Fayval Williams is encouraging companies to digitise their paper files ahead of the data protection Bill, which is expected to be brought to Parliament within the next month.

“All the entities, that have paper files, you're going to be hard-pressed to operate in the new data protection regime, and I would encourage you to begin digitising your paper files. We are about two or so meetings away from bringing this legislation into Parliament. The data protection Bill when passed into law will bring a new regime, new rights for citizens and residents,” Williams advised.

The minister was speaking at the Jamaica Stock Exchange 15th Regional Investments and Capital Market Conference on Wednesday (January 22) at the Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

According to her, companies will also be required to have a data protection officer, with the responsibility to ensure adherence to the data protection law.

“Digital applications run on data, which has become the new oil in the digital age. Since data is information that often pertains to individuals or groups of individuals, it might infringe on privacy,” Williams stated.

She further added that the Government is enacting clear legislation for data protection: establishing who owns data, who can use it and under what conditions.

“The Bill will safeguard our information as there are standards by which entities that collect information about us will have to abide by and the new information division that will be established will have powers to audit companies to ensure that personal data is properly handled,” she said.

“Having gone through a joint select committee that has both Government and Opposition members of Parliament and senators to examine the Bill, clause by clause, having received some 200 comments from stakeholders, we believe that as Jamaicans we can have the confidence that our personal data is handled with care and that we have a say in the matter,” Williams continued.

The minister's presentation centred on the Government enabling the digital economy and featured the eight pillars needed — the creation of an information and communications technology authority, Government-wide broadband infrastructure, data collection and information-sharing polices, public key infrastructure, the use of a strong national identification, data protection legislation, the electronic transaction act, and the digitisation of physical records across Government.

The conference's theme this year was 'The Winds of Change: Capital, Innovation and Technology'.

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