The days of Barbadians’ data been misused are coming to an end, Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland, has pledged.
The St George South MP promised that as part of the Data Protection Bill, Government will govern the collection of all personal data.
Speaking this morning in Parliament, Sutherland said the bill would regulate the collection, keeping, processing, use and dissemination of personal data, to protect the privacy of individuals and to provide for the regulation and the protection of people’s digital lives.
He said that most people who used the internet did not have a clear understanding of how their personal data was stored and used.
He declared: “This is a threat to companies, to individuals and what this legislation is seeking to do is to address some of these concerns.
“As this Government seeks to promote and encourage the use of information and communication technologies and as this Government seeks to provide more of its services online leveraging digital technology, and as this Government seeks to transform into a digital economy and create an enabling environment for the ease of doing business, it must ensure that its legal and regulatory framework is indeed one that the key stakeholders will have the confidence in us as we seek to build out our digital eco-system to enhance Barbados’ competitiveness as it relates to trade and the ease of doing business.
“So this legislation seeks to make our data protection laws fit for the digital age and will empower individuals to take control of their personal data.”
Sutherland promised that Government would govern the collection use and disclosure of individuals’ personal data by organizations in a manner which recognizes the rights of the individual and the need of the organization to collect, use and disclose personal data for appropriate purposes only.
He told the House of Assembly: “We have catered in this Bill and this piece of legislation to ensure misuse of data becomes a thing of the past.”
Sutherland said the draft data protection law was also compliant with the European Union’s newly enacted General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
He said once it was enacted it would make Barbados the only country in the region that has data protection legislation which is GDPR-compliant.
The Minister said this was important as most of Barbados’ tourism emanates from the UK.
Sutherland gave assurance that the information gathered would be stored in a trusted environment.
People would be eligible for compensation if their data was not properly stored, he added.
“An individual who suffers damage or distress due to any contravention of this Act by the data controller or the data processor is entitled to compensation from the data controller or the data processor for that damage.
“So we are binding the data processor and the data controller to make sure that what they do with your data is indeed what they are supposed to do with your data to protect your rights and your privacy and if they contravene this Act, you have the right to hold them accountable.”