The Lawyers Christian Fellowship of Jamaica is raising concerns that the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) is exempt from provisions of the proposed Data Protection Bill.

NIRA is the authority to be formed to manage the National Identification System, NIDS.

The Fellowship found it curious that this authority is being exempted from the provisions of the Data protection bill which is considered companion legislation to NIDS.

Speaking at today’s sitting of the Data Protection Bill Joint Select Committee, Fellowship member, Helene Coley Nicholson, questioned why government entities were being exempted from the legislation.

Chief among her concerns is the National Identification and Registration Authority, NIRA.

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Mrs. Coley Nicholson says the strength of the legislation lies in the punitive measures to be taken against breaches.

She says it’s therefore of concern that NIDS– which will be the largest holder of personal information– will not be punishable under its statutes.

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Mrs. Coley Nicholson also raised concerns over what she sees as unnecessary and out of place provisions in the legislation.

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The Data Protection Bill seeks to safeguard the privacy of individuals in relation to personal data, as well as regulate the collection and usage of personal information.

Failure to properly handle personal data could see individuals and entities facing proposed fines of millions of dollars and a percentage of their gross earnings and even imprisonment.