Wed | Oct 20, 2021

Data Protection Bill more important now – Frazer Binns

Published:Monday | June 8, 2020 | 12:16 AM
Sophia Frazer Binns.
Sophia Frazer Binns.

Opposition Senator Sophia Frazer Binns has argued that the Data Protection Bill will be of great importance now, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses and enterprising individuals to seek out new ways of doing business.

Many countries, including Jamaica, have implemented social-distancing measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, but making it difficult to operate business.

Frazer Binns who was a part of the joint select committee, chaired by Technology Minister Fayval Williams, that examined that bill.

Frazer Binns said she was happy that there are provisions in the bill which allowed the minister, through consultation with the data commissioner, to make exception to certain micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“It even becomes more important now in light of COVID. Small enterprises are becoming smaller; but also, what you find is that a lot of individuals are becoming entrepreneurs, because dem haffi tun dem hand a mek fashion due to COVID.


“So, for example, I have got a plethora of text messages: ‘You want something to be picked up? Call this place.’ So you have bearers online now, but you have to pay by credit card; they are going to have your information,” she said, when the bill was brought before the Senate.

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

It was eventually passed without controversy and is now awaiting the governor general’s signature for promulgation.