Data Protection Bill Tabled in Parliament

MSET logo watremarked

In respect of:
“The Data Protection Act, 2020”

Mister Speaker, I am pleased to pilot this Bill entitled the Data Protection Act, 2020, which is aimed at protecting the privacy of personal data through this Honourable House.

Background

  1. Mister Speaker, the right to privacy has been universally recognised as one of the inalienable rights of humans and has been recognised as such by the United Nations in its 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  2. In recognition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Jamaican Constitution was amended in 2011 to provide for a new Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which in section 13(3)(j) provides that everyone has the right to “respect for and protection of private and family life and privacy of the home” and “protection of privacy of other property and of communication” thereby Mister Speaker enshrining the rights which have long enjoyed legal protection by citizens of other countries.
  3. Notwithstanding this amendment to the Constitution, modern jurisprudence has long recognised that simply providing and protecting the right to privacy is not sufficient to adequately safeguard such a right and hence there emanated the need for legislation to treat with the protection of personal data and information concerning persons.
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  4. Mister Speaker, Jamaica’s impetus for promulgating data protection legislation are many and varied. While informed by the Jamaican Constitution, other factors have played a part. These include:
    a) the advancement in technology and the increasing ability to process, store and distribute data;
    b) the increase in electronic commerce; and
    c) obligations imposed by bi-lateral and multilateral agreements, specifically, trade agreements.

The objects of the Bill are therefore to:

  • define the general principles for the treatment of personal data; and
  • provide for transparent oversight that will enable the public and private sectors to strengthen the protection of personal data.
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