Data Protection Act to be Tabled Shortly

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Science, Energy & Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, MP

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the Data Protection Act is expected to be laid before Parliament for debate within another three months.

The Minister, who was making his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (April 18), said that work on the Bill is “far advanced.”

The Data Protection Act will safeguard, in general, the privacy of individuals in relation to personal data as well as govern the collection, regulation, processing, keeping, use and disclosure of certain information in physical or electronic form.

Dr. Wheatley further informed that the 2015 Cybercrimes Act will be reviewed this financial year, to address concerns about how sections of the law are interpreted and enforced, and a new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Bill will be tabled.

He said work on the ICT legislation continued in earnest last year, with assistance from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Consultations on the proposed provisions were held with stakeholders in the areas of telecommunications, broadcasting, and subscriber cable operators and a draft ICT Act produced.

Additionally, work will commence for the establishment of a single ICT regulator. Minister Wheatley noted that the sector is governed by several regulators and “this variegated approach to regulation is no longer fit to respond to the converged ICT space or provide the responsive regulation that is required.”

“Consequently, this year, we will begin the process of amalgamating the relevant functions of the regulators to ensure that when the new ICT Act is promulgated, the new regulator is in place to undertake the revised functions,” the Minister said.

Turning to other matters, the Minister informed the House that candidates have been shortlisted for the position of Chief Executive Officer for eGov Jamaica, while the ICT Governance Framework and ICT Council were approved last year.

He said that by the end of April, a Government of Jamaica (GoJ) ICT Think Tank will be launched.

The initiative is geared at facilitating and generating ideas, market research and product concepts for Government to citizen or Government to business services.

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