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‘Beware the myths about new data protection law’

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GUERNSEY’S new data protection law may now be just weeks away – but there is a warning about ‘misinformation’ and ‘myths’ surrounding the legislation.

Guernsey data protection commissioner Emma Martins said there was a great deal of misinformation about the new law, which comes into effect on the same day as GDPR is introduced in the EU. (Picture by David Ferguson, 21461761)

The new law is due to come into force on 25 May, the same day as the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect across the European Union.

The local legislation reflects the requirements of GDPR, which extends the rights of individuals in relation to their personal information.

Guernsey data protection commissioner Emma Martins said the new law would put the Bailiwick alongside the world’s most advanced jurisdictions.

‘There is, unfortunately, a great deal of misinformation and a significant number of myths in relation to data protection reform, so both businesses and individuals should consult our website and ensure they seek advice from appropriately experienced advisors,’ she added.

Her office is working on an internal implementation project to ensure it is ready to deliver on its new duties, which include the provision of support and assistance to local businesses and representative bodies.

Mrs Martins also said that businesses could benefit by respecting the strengthened data rights for individuals and building trust.

‘It is increasingly a way for

businesses to differentiate themselves from their less-enlightened counterparts and so can become a competitive advantage when done well.’

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She added: ‘There is still much to do and we want to ensure we continue to work hard in supporting local businesses to achieve the highest levels of compliance, which will be good for individuals, business and the jurisdiction as a whole.’

The data protection commissioner’s comments come as a number of technical amendments have been tabled to the legislation due to be considered by the States this week. These relate to approval of the ordinances around commencement, transitional relief and law enforcement.

The inaugural meeting of the data protection authority will be held on the day the law comes into force.

A launch event is planned at the Old Government House Hotel with representatives of government, the legal profession, finance industry and commercial organisations present along with the chief minister and all authority members.

Will Green

By Will Green
Business Editor

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