New Appointment Ahead of Incoming Data Protection Legislation

Friday 28 April 10:02

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has appointed an executive officer ahead of new legislation coming into force in the Channel Islands.

In his new role, Lawrence West will help provide guidance to the public and organisations on data protection legislation as well as work on investigating complaints and alleged breaches.

His appointment, as businesses and organisations are being urged to be prepared for incoming data protection regulations around how personal data should be handled, is in line with EU requirements.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is designed to strengthen existing legislation and is due to come into force in May 2018, and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner wants business to be ready for the changes.

Lawrence said: ‘Organisations need to recognise the importance of GDPR and take steps to ensure they have appropriate policy, procedure and infrastructure to tackle issues that may arise or more importantly, prevent issues occurring in the first instance.

‘As the profile of GDPR inevitably increases, the public will even further realise the value of their data. Good data governance will become vital in running a successful business.’

He added that data protection has become a real career option for young people as increasing importance has been attached to how society and business treats people’s information.

‘Data protection is a relatively uncharted field, but with new legislation in this area coming into force, I realised it was an area that I wanted to specialise in. There are plenty of opportunities for career and personal development,’ said the 24-year-old. 

Born in Guernsey, Lawrence developed an interest in records management and the legal framework surrounding it after starting work at the Island Archives from 2011. He was appointed as the Data Guardian for the Archives in early 2016 and further developed expertise around data protection legislation.

Emma Martins, Information Commissioner said: ‘Much work has been done in recent months across the Channel Islands to ensure we are strongly positioned to respond to the impending reform of data protection regulation. Maintaining the islands’ reputation as a well-regulated jurisdiction, in respect of data protection, is more important than ever.’

‘Lawrence’s appointment helps strengthen my team as we work with the public and organisations to be prepared for the GDPR. Hopefully, he will also inspire young people to think of data as a future career option.’

The GDPR is in many regards similar to current Channel Islands data protection legislation, however it will:

  • Increase the rights of individuals in relation to their personal data
  • Widen the definition of personal data – includes genetic, social and economic, for example
  • Tighten rules around obtaining consent to use personal information
  • Make the appointment of a Data Protection Officer mandatory for some organisations
  • Introduce data breach notification within 72 hours to the local DP Authority
  • Expand liability beyond data controllers to all organisations that deal with personal data
  • Introduce increased fines – up to 4% of a global annual turnover or EUR 20million (whichever highest)

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