ODPA takes ‘realistic’ approach to regulatory activity during Bailiwick ‘lockdown’

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The Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) is reassuring local organisations that it is taking a realistic and pragmatic approach to its regulatory activities during the Bailiwick’s ‘lockdown’.

The ODPA is the operational body that carries out the regulatory functions of The Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017 delegated by the Data Protection Authority. This law places a number of legal obligations on local organisations who handle personal data, and gives 10 rights to Bailiwick citizens around how their data is used.

Whilst the ODPA cannot extend timescales that are defined in law, they would like to reassure local regulated organisations that it is taking a realistic approach to its regulatory activities during the Bailiwick’s lockdown period, which started on Wednesday 25 March.

Bailiwick Data Protection Commissioner, Emma Martins, emphasised this,

‘These are not normal times and I want to make it clear that we will not take enforcement action against any organisation who is trying to do the right thing. We know that everyone’s focus is understandably diverted to dealing with new ways of working and the associated challenges for us all, as employers, employees and citizens. We also understand and are realistic about the impact the current disruption will have on compliance and governance, especially in sectors which are now instrumental in the Bailiwick’s response to the unfolding public health situation. Members of the public will also, we hope, understand that organisations may not be able to respond as quickly as usual to requests relating to their personal data. We are part of a community that is pulling together at an extraordinary time and want to ensure we carry out our duties in a responsible and practical manner in the interests of that whole community.’

The ODPA’s premises on Le Bordage shut on Monday 23 March and its nine staff members are now working remotely. Staff are available during normal office hours to answer any queries about data resulting from the evolving public health situation, or otherwise, and can be contacted via enquiries@odpa.gg.

In common with other organisations, all ODPA public events and drop-ins are suspended until further notice. Efforts are underway to support local organisations via online platforms to ensure continued focus on improving compliance and preventing people being harmed by misuse of their data.