Gov't moving to complete Data Protection Bill

Monday, July 01, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Fayval Williams, says that the Government is “moving rapidly” to complete the Data Protection Bill, which would provide citizens with the requisite safeguards to control their personal information online.

She 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,” Williams said.

“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,” Williams pointed out.

She was speaking at the launch of WiPay on last Thursday at the AC Marriott Hotel in St Andrew.

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 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 organisational 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.

Turning to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Authority Bill, which was passed in the House of Representatives on June 12, Minister Williams said the legislation 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,” she 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.

The ICT Bill will soon go to the Senate for approval.

Trinidadian company WiPay has partnered with Lasco Financial Services to roll out the payment platform across Jamaica.

WiPay's online payment system caters to businesses that want to sell their products and services online, enabling them to accept both credit and debit cards, bank accounts and cash online.

— JIS


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