The Daily Herald writes that today, January 28, is International Day of Privacy. In connection herewith, the Commission for the Protection of Personal Data Privacy for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba assembled this week to provide information and to discuss the importance of handling personal data, such as names, addresses, income details, photos, ID numbers and medical data, with the community.
Late last year, the Commission visited Statia and Saba. “An increasing amount of privacy-sensitive information is stored in digital files and is available via networks and the Internet. Of course this has advantages but it also presents risks such as identity theft and computer fraud. This imposes stringent requirements in the field of the security of digitally-processed personal data. To call attention to these issues, January 28 has been declared International Day of Privacy,” Commission chairman Glee Thod. explained.
Esther Pourier and Jacques van Eck were also appointed members of the commission, which was established April 1, 2014. The Caribbean Netherlands is the first part of the Dutch Caribbean in which such a privacy watchdog was established. The Commission is responsible for the supervision of the execution of the Protection of Personal Data Law BES, which came into effect October 10, 2010. Initially, the Commission is to mainly focus on awareness so that the legal standards will be applied on Bonaire, Statia and Saba.
“It is desirable that citizens and organisations know what rights and obligations they have before exercising supervision. Citizens, for instance, have the right to inspect their personal data, to have inaccuracies therein corrected and also to have these removed in certain cases. This also applies to non-residents who live in the Caribbean Netherlands, such as seconded employees and tourists,” Thod. said.
Individuals and organisations collecting and processing personal data also have obligations, Thod. explained. “Individuals and organisations working with files containing personal data are responsible for identifying and observing their legal obligations. For example: processing personal data is only permitted for the purpose for which the data was obtained. If an individual provides privacy details to a company in order to acquire a service, that company is not permitted to pass these data on to an advertising agency.
In addition, data files need to be protected sufficiently against unauthorized use, such as cyber theft.” To deal with awareness as effectively as possible, the Commission will annually focus on one theme. The theme of 2015 is the relation between employer and employee.
The Commission operates completely independently, but uses the facilities of Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN for its secretariat. For questions, tips and complaints about how personal data are being handled, one may contact Secretary Lizanne Kos via email email@example.com or tel. 795-0450. Letters may be sent to Commissie toezicht bescherming persoonsgegevens BES, c/o Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland, Kaya International z/n, Bonaire.