Wheatley Slams Gov’t for Failing to Bring Key ICT Legislation to Safeguard Citizens' Privacy

Release Date: 
Monday, February 16, 2015 - 18:30

Opposition Spokesman on Science, ICT & Digital Society Development, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, is today highlighting the recent controversy regarding the National Security Interest in Personal Property (NSIPP) regime, which led to a shutdown of the website by the Government, as yet another manifestation of the glaring gaps that exists in the ICT landscape.

Dr. Wheatley says the Opposition has been expressing concern regarding the absence of data protection and privacy legislation for quite some time now, but unfortunately, no coherent and meaningful response has come from the government to date.

Wheatley said: “The Opposition has called specifically for the promulgation and implementation of the Data Protection Act, which we believe will go a far way in providing for greater data protection and privacy, and set the stage for the establishment of systems of accountability, in addition to reducing overtime, the likelihood of data being misused or otherwise compromised."

The Opposition Spokesman went on to say: “What has transpired in the case of the NSIPP website is quite unfortunate and is to be seen as a telling blow dealt to data protection and the general privacy of ordinary Jamaicans.  With the Government being tasked with creating conditions for the safe custody of personal information and maintenance of privacy, the recent breakdown as it relates to NSIPP, has found the government wanting.  It is important at this time for immediate steps to be taken in correcting the situation and put the state and its agencies in a position to effectively discharge the duty of care they have in terms of data protection."

"In a landscape that is as dynamic as the ICT landscape, greater care needs to be taken in putting systems and structures in place to better protect the interests of citizens and keep pace with new demands and cutting-edge developments in the sector.  It cannot be that the regulatory environment is antiquated and failing to match strides with the dynamism that characterizes the ICT", Dr. Wheatley added.

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