By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Bahamas has been urged to introduce a law that would force companies to inform clients whenever a data security breach puts their personal information at risk.
Dr Raymond Wells, deputy director of Information Technology (IT) at the National Insurance Board (NIB), said a data security breach notification law, and this nation’s joining the Budapest Convention, will “significantly” strengthen the fight against cyber crime in the Bahamas.
Dr Wells told Tribune Business in a recent interview that it was vital this nation ensure it keeps pace with global anti-cyber crime standards.
One of several presenters at a half-day seminar hosted by the Data Protection Commission to round off its ‘National Privacy Week’, Dr Wells said data security and privacy concerns even received special attention by US president, Barack Obama, during his State of the Union Address last month.
Mr Obama unveiled his Personal Data Notification & Protection Act, which would seek to establish nationwide, uniform US consumer data breach notification rules.
Dr Wells said passing such a law in the Bahamas would aid the cyber crime fight by making businesses more accountable. “If you are a company knowing that you have to reveal whenever there is a breach, then you would implement your systems in accordance with best industry standards, and because you have to do that, you have a much more secure and sound information system,” he explained.
“If you know you have to tell your customers every time there is a breach, you are going to ensure that you build a very strong system. A data breach notification law and accession to the Budapest Convention, I believe, will significantly strengthen the cyber crime fight in this country.
“You have about 58 countries that are a part of the Budapest Convention or are trying to become a part or party to the Budapest Convention, mostly European countries as well as the United States.”
The Budapest Convention, is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by co-ordinating national laws, improving investigative technique and boosting co-operation among its signatories.
“It assists greatly with the cyber crime fight because it creates a uniform legal system across borders. The Budapest Convention requires you to pass certain laws and enables the fight to be much stronger. Right now, we have some of the laws in place but there are still some that need to be passed in order for us to be eligible for that accession,” said Dr Wells.