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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Government of Bermuda Issues Draft Data Protection Law

The government of Bermuda has issued a proposed comprehensive data protection bill for public consultation running through August 17.  The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), modeled primarily upon European precedents, sets out in detail what the government calls "a set of internationally accepted privacy principles that reflect accepted standards of good business practices for the use of personal information.”  Under the Act, data breaches that could adversely affect an individual must be reported to a Privacy Commissioner and to affected individuals.  Among the details deemed “sensitive” will be information such as race, ethnicity, disability and political views.  Requirements for international transfers of personal data will mirror those in the EU, with the Privacy Commissioner designating jurisdictions that have a comparable level of data protection. According to a report in the Royal Gazette, as well as comments included in the draft bill, the legislation has been drafted in a manner which should allow Bermuda to receive an adequacy finding by the European Commission.

Should the Act be adopted, Bermuda would become the second Caribbean nation, following The Bahamas, to enact comprehensive privacy legislation.  It should be noted, however, that in 2008 the government attempted to enact such a law without success. 

Separately, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology of Qatar announced that it is planning to issue a digital privacy law, containing general rules regarding the protection of personal information of Internet users, by the beginning of 2016.

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