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Data Protection

The Data Protection Bill was passed in The House of Representatives on May 19, 2020. The Bill seeks to safeguard the privacy of individuals, by securing certain classes of personal data in the hands of public and private entities (data controllers). These include:

• genetic or biometric information
• racial or ethnic origin
• personal life
• physical or mental health or condition
• political opinions
• philosophical and religious beliefs
• trade union membership

Next Steps
The Bill officially becomes law once it is reviewed and approved in the Senate and the Governor–General gives his assent. Institution of the new law will necessitate the appointment of a Data Protection Regulator. The regulator will have the primary responsibility of overseeing the manner in which personal data in the possession of data controllers is handled. Such data is to be treated in accordance with the following standards:

• Fair and lawful processing
• Obtaining of data only for one or more specified and lawful purposes
• Collecting of only data that is adequate and relevant in relation to the purpose for which it is collected
• Ensuring data is accurate
• Not keeping data for longer than is necessary for that purpose
• Disposal of data in accordance with regulations
• Processing of data in accordance with the rights of data subjects (persons whose personal data is collected)
• Protection of data using appropriate technical and organisational measures

Associated Penalties
Breaches – such as unlawfully obtaining or disclosing personal data – will be punishable by law. Persons or entities found to have committed any such offense will be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

For further information, contact:

Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology
PCJ Building
36 Trafalgar Road
Kingston 10
Tel: 876-929-8990-9, 876-960-1623
Email: info@mset.gov.jm
Website: mset.gov.jm

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