The Personal Information Protection Act 2016 (PIPA) which received Royal Assent on July 27, 2016, will provide Bermuda’s residents with a general right to privacy for personal information, which is based on a common set of international privacy principles. The PIPA applies to all organisations, including businesses and the Government, that use personal information in Bermuda.
Dr the Hon. E. Grant Gibbons, Minister for Economic Development, explained that the PIPA is a bespoke informational privacy framework designed to meet Bermuda’s unique requirements and as such, the roots of the PIPA model stretch far and wide. Minister Gibbons stated, “Primarily, we wished to emulate the European Union and their approach and philosophy with respect to protecting the informational privacy rights of individuals. We also recognise that Bermuda is a small jurisdiction with significant economic ties on both sides of the Atlantic and that has been taken into consideration as well.”
Minister Gibbons went on to add that” with the PIPA, we believe we have succeeded in developing modern, pragmatic informational privacy legislation, that meets international best practice and balances comprehensive protection with sensible regulation, that is appropriate for Bermuda and the local and international organisations operating here. It is our intention to submit an application to the European Union for an assessment of “Adequacy” in order that we may join the network of trusted jurisdictions that can be relied on to protect personal information”.
The Director of the Privacy and Data Protection Legislative project, Nancy Volesky, commented that the PIPA has benefitted from a lengthy development which reflects the most recent international developments in the privacy arena. “We would like to take this opportunity to recognise the contribution of the international legal specialists on the PIPA team, and the many international privacy regulators, from countries both large and small, who have kindly provided considerable advice and assistance throughout the evolution of the PIPA”, said Ms. Volesky.
The Personal Information Protection Act will only come into force in two years, however the recruitment of an independent Privacy Commissioner will begin shortly. This is to enable the Commissioner to assist organisations and the public to prepare for the implementation.