The Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017 (the Law) comes into force today, reflecting the new requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation which is introduced across Europe on the same day.
The Law replaces the current Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2001 and will enhance individual rights and provide for a more transparent and accountable processing environment for personal data.
In a statement released ahead of the laws coming into force at midnight, The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner acknowledged the timetable for reform has been ambitious for the Bailiwick. Emma Martins also said that by ensuring the highest standards of regulatory environment here, will ensure the island's retain ‘adequacy’ status with the EU, protecting the free flow of data to the Islands – which she said is "clearly important for the economy."
"It also ensures that our own citizens have strengthened rights in this data driven era," she said. "With stories almost daily around data scandals, whether breaches of security or exposes of data uses by social media giants, we are all increasingly aware of the risks of poor data handling.
"Although this timetable has proved challenging, the Bailiwick is now strongly positioned to deliver on the new requirements. The legislation and statutory instruments were drafted after extensive consultation with industry. We have a dedicated Commissioner and staff and more recently appointed Richard Thomas CBE, as Chairman of the newly formed Authority. The other Authority Members bring with them a wealth of national and EU experience."
Ms Martins also said that for Bailiwick businesses, the message is that looking after personal data is important, "not simply to ensure compliance with the legislation, but because it is an asset for them that needs protecting.
"Compromising that protection risks regulatory action but also, importantly, risks damaging the trust and confidence all businesses rely upon to be successful. Individuals are increasingly aware of their rights and keeping clients happy should act as a powerful incentive for all organisations'" she said.
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) is itself undergoing reform to allow it to perform its duties under the new regime with Ms Martins explaining that this involves moving to complete independence from government and putting in place new governance structures in place to ensure highest levels of accountability.
"We advise all businesses and individuals to consult the Office of Data Protection Commissioner website or seek guidance from appropriately experienced advisors in relation to the new law to prepare for the changes required."
Pictured: Emma Martins
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