Experts and MPs Express Concern about Powers Given in Data Protection Bill

Technology experts and Members of Parliament are raising concerns about the proposed Data Protection Bill and the powers to be given to head of the Data Commission.

During a meeting of the Bill’s Joint Select Committee today, representatives of the Jamaica Information Technology Services Alliance, JITSA, Jamaica Computer Society, JCS, and the National Consumers League voiced concerns.

The Data Protection Bill, seeks to safeguard the privacy of the personal data of individuals.

It also seeks to regulate the collection, processing, and use of certain information in physical or electronic form.

The attorney representing JITSA and the JCS, Grace Lindo, suggests the legislation may be too broad in its scope.

She also says greater clarity must be given in the bill as to how people consent to their data being utilized.

Vice Chairman of the National Consumers League, Michael Diamond, raised concerns over the powers being granted to the Data Commissioner.

Member of Parliament for South St. Andrew, Mark Golding, also shared the concerns. He cited complaints by the security forces about the powers of the INDECOM boss as an example.

Concerns were also raised about the cost to businesses to properly implement the requirements.

The stakeholders also raised concerns about the period of time for the legislation to come into effect once it’s gazetted. The Bill says that period is 12 months.

Chairman of the Joint Select Committee and Technology Minister, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, took note of the concerns.