Jamaica’s new Data Protection Act 2020 was passed in the Senate today and will take effect in 2022. 

Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Leader of Government Business, said the bill will take effect after a two-year transitional period, whereby a public education exercise will be undertaken. 

“It is anticipated that during this transition period, it will be treated as an appropriate period for public education…So we will pass the Bill and educate people as we go through… [so that] people will understand the Bill when it has come into effect,” she said.

The transitional period will also allow data controllers time to take the necessary steps to ensure full compliance with the legislation, as outlined in the Clause 76 of the Bill. 

The Data Protection Act 2020 provides guidelines on how personal data should be collected, processed, stored, used and disclosed in physical or electronic form. It also requires that data should only be collected for specific lawful purposes with explicit consent of the individual, and not to be used in any way other than what it was intended for. 

The bill also states that data must not be transferred to a State or territory outside of Jamaica unless it ensures a sufficient and adequate level of protection of the individual rights from whom the data has been collected.