Preventing release of personal information

| 06/12/2018

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusI’ve been hearing a lot about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) lately, most recently on the ‘60 Minutes’ programme. The list of registered voters in Cayman is public, with voters’ names, residential addresses, and occupations. Doesn’t that fall afoul of GDPR, or the local data protection laws?

Auntie’s answer: Actually, a representative of the Office of the Ombudsman, which deals with data-protection issues, explained that the GDPR does not apply to Cayman: “The General Data Protection Regulation is European legislation and as such does not directly regulate the use of personal information within the Cayman Islands.”

As you may already know, here in Cayman there is no law on the books at the moment regulating the use of such personal information; for that we have to wait till September 2019, when the Data Protection Law, 2017 (DPL), is expected to be implemented.

“Once the DPL is in force, personal information will only be permitted to be used where a legal condition specified in the DPL permits its use. Broadly speaking, schedule 3 (3) of the DPL permits disclosure of personal information if another law requires that disclosure,” the ombudsman’s office said.

And that caveat about another law requiring disclosure directly relates to your concern about publishing the list of registered voters. I was directed to Section 18(4) of the Elections Law (2017 Revision) which says, “Copies of the Register of Electors shall be offered for sale in printed or electronic form at prices set by the Supervisor from time to time”.

It was explained that this provision “creates a legal obligation to make the register available to the public and therefore its use would be in compliance with the DPL”.

However, as is allowed in the UK, the Cayman Islands can offer the right to opt out of an open register, but that would be a matter to be taken up by the Legislative Assembly.

It seems to me that now would be the time to make your concerns known to your MLA if you want the right to choose not to have your personal information published.

The laws mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So you folks want secret voter lists? What a great Idea. What could possibly go wrong?

  2. Anonymous says:

    “The General Data Protection Regulation is European legislation and as such does not directly regulate the use of personal information within the Cayman Islands.”

    This is only half of the Ombudsman’s official guidance on this issue and as such, is misleading without reference to indirect regulation. Here’s the other half:

    “… any business, organization or public entity, whether based in the EU or not, that collects the personal information of European individuals may be subject to the GDPR, particularly if they have an establishment in the EU, offer goods or services to individuals in the EU, or monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EU”.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The ombudsman is incorrect, GDPR law applies to anyone who is currently collecting and storing personal data from citizens of the EU.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. And most Caymanians are (at least until April) citizens of the EU.