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  • Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who made the disclosure, informed that attorney-at-law, Celia Barclay who assumed the role of Information Commissioner on December 1, 2021, has strategic oversight for the establishment and operations of the OIC.
  • The Office of the Information Commissioner has responsibility for monitoring compliance with the Act and attendant regulations; providing advice to the Minister; disseminating information to the public in relation to, among others, the operation of the Act; preparing and disseminating or directing the preparation and dissemination of guidelines to be adhered to as good practice; and encouraging the preparation and dissemination of self-initiated guidelines.
  • In the meantime, Minister Vaz informed that pursuant to the Data Protection Act, 2020, an Oversight Committee was appointed, effective December 1, 2021; and drafting instructions for the Data Protection Regulations are to be finalised by September 2022.

The Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) which will provide advice to the Government on matters relating to data protection and access to information, is now in the process of being operationalised.

This follows the passage of the Data Protection Act, 2020, which makes provision for the establishment of the Office and the appointment of an Information Commissioner.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who made the disclosure, informed that attorney-at-law, Celia Barclay who assumed the role of Information Commissioner on December 1, 2021, has strategic oversight for the establishment and operations of the OIC.

“Since her appointment, the Commissioner has been taking steps to operationalise the Office. While the process is still in train, the Office has already been making strides in the data privacy and protection arena. The OIC has been leveraging various public awareness strategies to facilitate preliminary consultations regarding the issues and concerns of different interest groups,” he said.

Mr. Vaz was making his contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 10.

Additionally, the Minister informed that the Office has been making introductory presentations to the Common Thread Network, a forum for data protection and privacy authorities of Commonwealth Countries, and directly engaging Data and Information Commissioners within the region.

“This will later inform discussions and arrangements for data sharing, and any guidance to be issued by the OIC to data controllers in different industries and sectors,” he said.

The Office of the Information Commissioner has responsibility for monitoring compliance with the Act and attendant regulations; providing advice to the Minister; disseminating information to the public in relation to, among others, the operation of the Act; preparing and disseminating or directing the preparation and dissemination of guidelines to be adhered to as good practice; and encouraging the preparation and dissemination of self-initiated guidelines.

The Office is also tasked with developing codes, standards and regulations to strengthen the data protection and access to information policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks; and developing agreements, memoranda of understanding with third party entities for capacity strengthening of the OIC in the areas of compliance, investigations and other technical areas of the operation of the entity.

The Information Commissioner was appointed by the Governor-General after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, pursuant to Part 1 of the First Schedule of the Data Protection Act, 2020.

In the meantime, Minister Vaz informed that pursuant to the Data Protection Act, 2020, an Oversight Committee was appointed, effective December 1, 2021; and drafting instructions for the Data Protection Regulations are to be finalised by September 2022.

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