Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Take data-protection seriously urges Wheatley

Published:Sunday | January 28, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley assists students in accessing the Internet at the opening of the Mayfield All-Age School Community Resource Centre in St Elizabeth.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley has urged public- and private-sector entities to implement the necessary technical and institutional support to ensure greater protection of personal data within their custody or control.

In a message to mark Data Privacy Day, which is being observed worldwide today, Wheatley said that while the Jamaican Government is ensuring that it remains in the global vanguard for data protection and privacy, everyone must play his part.

"In a world where personal data are being processed every second whether online, when we purchase goods or services, travel, or go to a medical facility, or interact with government, we all need to be more aware of the associated risks and of our rights as citizens where there are breaches," said Wheatley.

"With the increased use of digital and electronic communications in Jamaica, we need proper protection in the use of our personal data and other sensitive information," added Wheatley.

He said that the government is doing its part with the introduction of the Data Protection Bill, which, among other things, seeks to safeguard the personal data of individuals, as well as regulate the collection, regulation, processing, keeping, use, and disclosure of certain information in physical or electronic form.

"Strengthening our regulatory environment will, therefore, promote more effective and widespread use of technology components.

"We must ensure that the personal information of citizens is safe and secure and that the gatekeepers are held accountable for their use of that information. The protection of information is a right and not a privilege, and the aim of the data-protection legislation is to protect that right," said Wheatley.

He added that along with the data-protection legislation, consistent efforts are being made by the Cyber Incident Response Team of his ministry in providing cyber security education for all Jamaicans online.

"As we observe Data Privacy Day, I encourage all Jamaicans to protect your privacy, take control over your digital footprint, and make the protection of privacy and data a priority every single day," said Wheatley.