Personal data protection Amendment Act comes into effect by 2025

The Privacy Commissioner and I are delighted to provide an update to the community regarding the steps we are taking to prepare Bermuda for the Personal Information Protection Amendment Act 2023.

We live in a data driven world and since the pandemic, we have become more and more dependent on operating in an online space. Personal information permeates businesses, private and public sector organisations, and workplaces,
including names, addresses, personal history, contact information, medical and financial data.


This information may be readily available online or easily accessed in other cases. Personal information, in most instances must be protected, because if it falls into the wrong hands it
could be harmful to the individuals and to the organisation. Depending on the situation, individuals could become victims of identity theft, discrimination, physical harm, harassment or the victim of libelous and defamatory communication.


Organisations may find their
reputation affected or may be legally responsible. In this explosive digital age, this Government is committed to ensuring that all its citizens are treated
fairly and appropriately protected.
In that regard, the public will note that the Personal Information Protection Amendment (PIPA) Bill 2023 was tabled in the House of Assembly on June 2, 2023.


This Bill seeks to amend the Personal Information Protection Act 2016, to make significant amendments to the Public Access to Information Act 2010 and the Public Access to Information Regulations 2014. Essentially the Bill seeks to harmonize the PIPA and PATI legislation which moves the Government a step
closer to implementation of PIPA.


Tomorrow, we will be debating this matter in the House, and I wanted to provide an opportunity to share with the public a little bit of why this legislation is so critical and why it matters to residents and businesses. It’s important to understand that Privacy legislation — also referred to as ‘data protection’ or
‘informational privacy’ — provides for an important human right and forms a critical building block in the creation of a successful information society.

The aim of the PIPA is to put the control over the use of personal information into the hands of individuals.
Privacy is often confused with Public Access to Information, or Freedom of Information. They have similarities but are quite different. PATI gives the public the right to obtain access to information held by Public Authorities to the greatest
extent possible, subject to exceptions that are in the public interest or for the protection of the rights of others.

PATI’s purpose is to inform the public about the activities of Public Authorities, including the manner in which they make decisions. The Personal Information Protection Amendment Bill will resolve overlapping provisions currently found in PATI and the PATI Regulations 2014 with the PIPA to ensure, for example, one definition of personal
information and one legislative regime to request and correct one’s own personal information.

The amendments primarily allow personal information requests to public authorities to be managed through PIPA and not PATI once PIPA comes into force.
With the anticipated passage in the House of Assembly of the Personal Information Protection Amendment Bill 2023, I can advise that PIPA will formally come into force on January 1, 2025.

I recognize that PIPA can seem like a daunting prospect for our community.
And admittedly, there is much to consider when it comes to what is required, and what the public’s
responsibility is as it relates to privacy and the protection of personal information. I can assure the public that much work has gone on to prepare Bermuda for PIPA. As an example, the Privacy Commissioner was appointed in January 2020.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of PIPA and using his powers as stated in the PIPA for its management and enforcement.
As part of the Privacy Commissioner’s “Road to PIPA”, Mr. White has also been very active in issuing guidance, offering extensive training and working with industry groups to help them understand their requirements and to ensure their adoption of PIPA.


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