Ministry official: Work ongoing to proclaim data laws

Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein
Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein

DIGITAL Transformation Ministry executive legal adviser Rudyard Davidson has said efforts are being made to fully proclaim both the Data Protection Act and the Electronic Transaction Act.

He gave this assurance during a virtual meeting between ministry officials and the Parliament's Finance and Legal Affairs Joint Select Committee (JSC) on Friday.

Davidson also said that even though the former has not been proclaimed, there are sufficient safeguards in place to ensure the protection of people's personal data such as financial and medical records.

The Data Protection Bill 2011 was passed in the House of Representatives on February 11, 2011. It was passed by the Senate on May 24, 2011, with amendments.

The House passed the amended bill on June 3, 2011. It was assented into law (becoming an act) on June 22, 2011.

Various sections of the act were proclaimed into law on January 6, 2012 and August 23,2021.

Responding to questions from Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein, Davidson said the ministry is working towards the full operationalisation of the Data Protection Act and the Electronic Transaction Act.

"We want to do it as a matter of urgency."

Telling committee members that consultations with stakeholders and work on certain regulations associated with both acts are ongoing, Davidson was optimistic that their full proclamation could happen in fiscal 2024.

JSC chairman Independent Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye cautioned Davidson about using words such as "immediately" or "in short order" to say when different aspects of any piece of legislation or associated regulations could be implemented.

She reminded him and ministry officials that people could interpret those words in different ways.

"Language has meaning, you see. So don't raise my expectations and then drop them."

Davidson also said the sections of the Data Protection Act which have been proclaimed ensure a level of protection of people's personal information.

Outside of this, he continued, there are other ways people can ensure that public or private-sector bodies do not share their clients' personal information with unauthorised people.

"Nothing would prevent an aggrieved person from making such an approach to the court."

Digital Transformation deputy national chief digital officer Denyse White said although some parts of the Electronic Transactions Act have not been proclaimed to date, commercial banks have been able to roll out a suite of online services to customers using the parts of the act that have been proclaimed.


"Ministry official: Work ongoing to proclaim data laws"

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