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Data Protection Bill Passed in the Senate

By: , June 13, 2020

The Key Point:

Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, in closing the debate on the Bill, noted that a public education exercise will be undertaken during the two-year transitional period before the legislation comes into effect.

The Facts

  • Senator Johnson Smith noted that this campaign would be important in promoting “the positives of this Bill and indeed the positives of NIDS (National Identification System) as well, when it shall have come into effect,” she said.
  • The legislation 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 organisational measures; and be disposed of in accordance with the regulations.

The Full Story

The Data Protection Act, 2020, which seeks to safeguard the privacy and personal information of Jamaicans, was passed in the Senate on Friday (June 12).

The Bill, which was approved without amendments in the Lower House on May 19, was greenlit by the Senators with three amendments.

Leader of Government Business, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, in closing the debate on the Bill, noted that a public education exercise will be undertaken during the two-year transitional period before the legislation comes into effect.

“It is anticipated that during this transition period, it will be treated as an appropriate period for public education…So we will pass the Bill and educate people as we go through… (so that) people will understand the Bill when it has come into effect,” she said.

Senator Johnson Smith noted that this campaign would be important in promoting “the positives of this Bill and indeed the positives of NIDS (National Identification System) as well, when it shall have come into effect,” she said.

“When you look at the impact and the positive benefit that can come from the services and the protection that will be given by this Bill, then we will get further and faster and we will have greater engagement and buy-in because we will focus on the positives,” she added.

As outlined in Clause 76 of the Bill, a transition period will be established to allow data controllers time to take the steps necessary to ensure full compliance with the legislation. The period will also facilitate other administrative processes.

The Data Protection Bill 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 to be further used or processed in any way incompatible with the original purpose.

The legislation 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 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 of the rights and freedoms of the individual from whom the data has been collected.

Last Updated: June 15, 2020

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