The Office of the Data Protection Authority has suggested that data protection legislation shouldn’t “be a barrier” to livestreaming Scrutiny meetings.
A Scrutiny hearing last week was cancelled after concerns were raised by officers at the States of Guernsey about internal data protection.
The ODPA has since published a statement emphasising how important data protection requirements are, but in theory it doesn’t think there should be any reason a livestreaming hearing shouldn’t be undertaken.
“The ODPA believes strongly in the importance of checks and balances to ensure the States of Guernsey is accountable to the community it represents,” said the ODPA.
The Bailiwick Data Protection Commissioner, Emma Martins, continues: “There is no reason at all that data protection legislation should be a barrier to [livestreaming Scrutiny meetings to the public].
“However, if information about people is included in these public hearings, then the statutory data protection requirements clearly need to be complied with. An Impact Assessment should have been done at the outset which would have identified the steps needed to ensure compliance.
“These checks and balances are no different to those required for any activities carried out by an organisation where people’s data is involved.”
The Authority said it wasn’t consulted prior to the media reporting of the issue raised by civil servants that then led to the cancellation of the meeting. It hopes that Scrutiny and the States’ data protection officers can work together to find a solution.
The President of Scrutiny, Deputy Yvonne Burford, has since said that she intends to push for future livestreaming events and will be meeting with the ODPA to facilitate this.
An alternate date for Scrutiny’s meeting with the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture hasn’t been announced yet.
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