NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas Data Protection Commissioner has recorded a 10 per cent hike in the number of data breach complaints by commercial bank account holders year-over-year, as efforts to increase public awareness on the issue continue.
It is a global upsurge in breaches of personal data by hackers and online criminals that has not bypassed The Bahamas, admits Commissioner Michael Wright. He explained there was a need to continually attend conferences and ongoing training sessions just to keep pace with data protection and privacy concerns around the world, particularly that which may affect this jurisdiction.
“There has been a slight increase in data subjects complaints as regards to privacy issues involving various commercial banks and other entities within The Bahamas,” he said. “It is important to note that due to the rise in awareness regarding ones’ right to privacy, many of the complainants are driven to reach out directly to the office or better yet fill out a complaint form to initiate an investigation.
“When the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is notified or a privacy breach is discovered there is a procedural flow that’s followed.”
His comments follow recent credit/debit card skimming incidents locally that have led to a public distrust of commercial banks throughout the nation, sparking the Royal Bahamas Police Force to issue tips to the public on how not to become a victim.
Wright notes, however, that not all allegations are substantiated by evidence and in many cases, the individuals involved declines moving forward with a formalized process. That process includes containing the breach, evaluating the risks, notification to those involved and prevention steps.
“Needless to say, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is required by law to investigate any and all complaints brought to its attention involving the possibility of a data breach specific to one’s personal data,” Wright added. “However, it is important that the assertion of the complainant does not have the underlying tone or intent of that which may be deemed frivolous or vexatious.”
Continuing on with its mission to educate and raise the awareness of all data subjects, as to their rights regarding their personal information, the Office is now forging ahead with a campaign to arm the general public with ways to protect their information.
“The general public can expect to experience a heighten campaign on where we are now and what is being done to safeguard all of our data subjects personal information,” he said. “Joint partnerships with both the public and private sector will continue to be our foundational support, while taking our message in its simplest form to the schools, businesses, agencies and as many associations and civic organizations whereby schedule permits.”
This article was written for Eyewitness News Business by Inderia Saunders.