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Senators pass information privacy Bill

Legislation passed: Senator Jeff Baron

The island’s first information privacy legislation has been passed in the Senate, but is likely to be delayed two years to allow organisations to prepare.

However, a privacy commissioner will soon be enacted, national security minister Jeff Baron told the Upper House, opening the way for public consultation.

The Personal Information Freedom Act covers the use of personal information in electronic and hard-copy form, by all businesses, organisations, charities and government departments. Mr Baron said it would make the island “attractive to businesses wishing to locate from both sides of the Atlantic”.

Kim Wilkerson of the Progressive Labour Party declared the Opposition’s wholehearted support. Independent senators James Jardine and Joan Dillas-Wright both backed the Bill, with Mr Jardine noting that some penalties, which include imprisonment, looked “very severe”.

The Bill will usher in a cultural shift for Bermuda, One Bermuda Alliance senators Lynne Woolridge and Georgia Marshall said in voicing their support, while Michael Fahy, the tourism minister, said it would bring a complete legal shift in terms of international business.

Thanking senators, Mr Baron called the right to protect personal information “a fundamental human right”.