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Warning From Data Commissioner

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

THE Office of the Data Commissioner has reminded the public that it is a criminal offence to access an individual’s personal information and disseminate it without proper authority.

The Data Commissioner’s Office noted, in a statement on Friday, an increase in activities where people are operating as rogue investigators and reporters who seek popularity and celebrity status at the risk and expense of disintegrating society into one of chaos and disorder. Such behaviour is condemned, the statement said.

This comes after Cable Bahamas on Thursday night suspended its relationship with Bahamian singer Angelique Sabrina pending the outcome of a police investigation into a matter that exploded on social media last week.

“The public should be further advised that once information is posted on-line it can be very difficult to retrieve that information,” the statement said. “Some information, if gotten into the hands of unscrupulous and irresponsible individuals could cause extreme distress and damage to an individual’s reputation.

“Therefore, online users should exercise extreme caution when posting information online. Members of the public are also encouraged to set their privacy settings to ensure that only persons who they would want to see or share their information are allowed to do so.

“Users should ultimately only post information that, if improperly disclosed, is less likely to cause damage and distress.”

It further pointed to sections 22 and 23 of the Data Protection (Privacy of Personal Information Act) 2003. According to that law, it is an offence to obtain access to an individual’s personal information and disclose it without the consent or proper authority of the data controller or data processor.

People who feel that they have been subject to breaches of the Privacy of Personal Information Act are urged to make a complaint to the Data Protection Office at (242)-702-1552 or by email to dataprotection@bahamas.gov.bs.

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