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Conference held in Douglas as Island prepares for GDPR

Friday, 26 January 2018

Minister for Policy and Reform Hon Chris Thomas MHKThe Palace Hotel, Douglas was the venue for a fully subscribed Government-sponsored conference on the Government’s approach to implementing the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018, following a two-year transition period. It brings together and strengthens the protection of personal data for all individuals within the European Union - as well as the export of personal data outside the EU - and represents the biggest cultural and legislative shift in data protection law in the past 20 years.

A range of speakers from across Government and the business community explored the changes which GDPR is likely to bring about, and the responses needed from both the private and public sectors.

In particular, speakers considered the impact of GDPR on the Isle of Man and its economy, the role of Government and private business, the new rights and responsibilities which the legislation will introduce and the changes it will bring about in the way data is handled in future.

Chris Thomas MHK, Minister for Change and Reform, outlined the changes in Manx legislation which are set to be introduced to ensure the Island retains its adequacy decision from the EU under the new GDPR regime. He described the need for the revised legislation to reflect the new and enhanced rights, fines and penalties within the GDPR and also detailed the current Manx legislation which these changes will supersede.

Speaking before the Conference, the Minister said:

'All of us in Government are committed to making sure that the Isle of Man maintains its current adequacy decision with the European Union and that all the necessary legislation, controls and processes are in place before GDPR is brought into force on the 25 of May

'When the revised legislation is enacted this will mean that individuals will have more control over - and better protection of - their personal data. It also means that businesses on the Island will be supported by Government as they apply the requirements of GDPR - and the revised Manx data protection law – across their own businesses.'

He also commented:

'It’s worth remembering that these legislative changes are coming about as a key element of the Government’s overall commitment to our Island’s Digital Strategy. That’s why it’s important we don’t view GDPR in isolation, but as part of a longer-term commitment to a joined up, forward-looking, safe and well-regulated nation for the digital age.'

Other speakers included Chris Allen, President of the Isle Man Chamber of Commerce, who discussed the view of GDPR from the Manx business sector’s point of view, and Iain McDonald, Information Commissioner, who presented an overview of the forthcoming changes and the support and guidance which is already available.

The conference concluded with a selected panel of specialists taking a range of questions from the audience on all aspects of GDPR.

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