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Cayman Islands Government

Data Protection Consult Starts

Cabinet is seeking public feedback on a draft bill that would enshrine the individual’s rights to keep personal data private, with some exceptions.

The document, which is being circulated for discussion from Friday, 19 September 2014, speaks to the circumstances in which data is obtained, maintained and protected. It also outlines the rights of persons about whom data is collected (data subjects) and the duties of the persons who are collecting data (data controllers).

Officials note that the Bill would bring local legislation in line with section nine of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Cayman Islands, which relates to private and family life. Furthermore it has the potential to impact all who live and do business in the Cayman Islands.

They explain that while the proposed legislation requires that individuals must be able to access information about themselves, it further states that such data must be properly handled by any public and private sector agencies which retain it.

The draft bill outlines examples of personal data and sensitive personal data. The broader term includes data that relates to the individual's location, that person’s online identifier, or one or more factors specific to their physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.

It also encompasses expressions of opinion about the individual; and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or anyone else in respect of that person.

The following are among the kinds of information considered sensitive as they pertain to the data subject:

• Racial or ethnic origin;

• Political opinions;

• Religious or other beliefs of a similar nature;

• Membership of a trade union;

• Genetic data;

• Physical or mental health or condition;

• Sex life;

• The commission or alleged commission of any offence, including by way of arrest or charging; or

• Any proceedings for any offence committed, or alleged to have been committed, by the data subject, as well as the disposal of any such proceedings or any sentence of a court in the Islands or elsewhere.

The draft goes on to detail the procedures by which data subjects may request information about themselves from data controllers, and outlines fines for any failure to comply. It also requires the registration of data controllers.

Finally the discussion paper proposes that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which presently enforces the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law, would have a similar mandate with regards to the Data Protection Law.

Copies of the document are available on www.gov.ky and www.cabinetoffice.gov.ky .

Cabinet will make its decision on the draft discussion paper following the two month discussion period which ends 18 November. All comments and questions should be sent to dataprotection@gov.ky before the deadline.

The development of a data protection bill has been ongoing for some years.

Over that time members of the data protection working group have included representatives from: the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA), the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), the ICO, and the FOI Unit.

Others were drawn from civil society organizations such as: the Law Society, the Bar Association, and the Banker’s Association among others.

This is the third and final public consultation on the Bill before Cabinet completes its review. Considerable information from those previous consultations is available at www.dataprotection.ky.

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks