Wheatley says Data Protection Bill will protect NIDS info

Thursday, November 23, 2017

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MINISTER of Science, Energy and Techology Dr Andrew Wheatley says the Data Protection Bill will ensure the privacy of personal information collected by the Government and its agencies, as well as private institutions and individuals.

Dr Wheatley, who chairs the joint select committee of Parliament appointed to review the provisions of the new Bill, was speaking in an interview with the Jamaica Observer following yesterday's preliminary meeting of the committee at Gordon House.

“A major concern out there is the question of privacy of the information collected by the NIDS (national identification system), but the Data Protection Bill provides that protection for every citizen,” he said.

“This Data Protection Bill will support the NIDS by removing those fears, as they relate to the privacy of the citizens and the manner in which data is collected and treated,” he added.

The meeting, which was held a day after the House of Representatives closed the parliamentary chapter on the NIDS Bill, was attended by nine of the 11 members of the committee — Dr Wheatley; Opposition spokesman on finance and planning Mark Golding; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Franklyn Witter; Opposition spokesman on science and technology Julian Robinson; and senators Pearnel Charles Jr, Donna Scott-Mottley, Matthew Samuda, Kerensia Morrison, and Sophia Fraser-Binns. Absent were: Marisa Dalrymple Philibert and Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn.

The committee is to start advertising for submissions from various institutions and individuals this weekend, and the submissions are to be sent in by the first week on January. The committee is to meet again the following week to start deliberations on the Bill.

The “Memorandum of Objects and Reasons” of the Bill notes that a decision has been taken to enact legislation to secure the confidentiality of personal data, which may be in the possession of entities (including government authorities), and to provide for the rights of individuals in relation to their personal data in the possession of those entities.

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