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Data protection reforms will 'boost' Guernsey

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New data protection legislation will bring economical benefits to Guernsey, according to the island’s Data Protection Commissioner.

Emma Martins said the legislation will position Guernsey as an innovative and high-quality jurisdiction with effective regulation and warned that failure to strengthen the island’s offering in this area would be damaging.

She also believes it will ensure that businesses don’t face different compliance rules locally and in the European Union.

The GDPR is also due to come into force in Jersey in May 2018.

During the States of Guernsey debate on the reforms on Wednesday, Deputy Heidi Soulsby expressed concerns about the cost implications of the changes and fears of a ‘dystopian future’.

As the island’s data protection commissioner, I welcome the States of Guernsey’s decision to move ahead with these important data protection reforms.

Far from the implementation of these reforms being a dystopian vision of benefit to no one, failing to strengthen the island in this area would itself lead to such a situation.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to identify anyone who would not benefit - citizens, visitors, local business, new business, the economy, the island’s reputation. This is an opportunity to strengthen our own rights and position Guernsey as a high quality, innovative and competitive environment with effective regulation in place.

– Emma Martins, Data Protection Commissioner

The data protection commissioner also welcomed the States organising workshops for deputies to deepen understanding of the social and economic drivers for the reforms.

This is about ensuring the continued free flow of data to the island, the benefits of which should need no explanation.

It’s also ensuring we have meaningful rights around the handling of our data, which is something to which we are all entitled.

This especially important in a world where more of our information is being collected and used in ways unimaginable only a few years ago.

– Emma Martins, Data Protection Commissioner