Press Release On Data Protection Public-Private Dialogue

Monday, 24th June

Ministry of Digital Infrastructure partners ITC to organize a national public-private dialogue on the proposed data protection bill

The Ministry of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology (MDIIT) in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) is organizing a National Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) on the “Legal Framework for the Proposed Data Protection Bill”, on 27 June 2019. The event will be held within the framework of the EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance Project, funded by the European Union (EU) of which ITC is the lead implementing agency.

The primary objective of the PPD is to provide an overview of the proposed Data Protection Bill and seek comments and suggestions from diverse stakeholders from Government and Private sector to make improvements to the Draft framework, before it is submitted for approval as a Bill.

In view of the digital transformation taking place in Sri Lanka with government agencies, Banks, Telco’s, ISPs and private sector collecting personal data via the Internet, the subject of Data Protection has become an important public policy consideration. Taking these into consideration Ministry of Digital Infrastructure & Information Technology took the lead initiative to formulate Data Protection Legislation and appointed a Committee led by Chair of CERT & ICTA Legal Advisor with representatives of Legal Draftsman, Central Bank and private sector specialists, to formulate Draft Legislation.

In formulating Draft Legislation, the Drafting Committee examined international best practices, such as the OECD Guidelines, APEC Privacy Framework, Council of Europe Data Protection Convention, the EU General Data Protection Regulations as well as laws enacted in other jurisdictions, such as Australia, Mauritius, Singapore and the Indian Draft Legislation.

The draft bill seeks to provide a regulatory framework for data protection in Sri Lanka and among other vital interventions, the bill will seek to establish provisions for data processing, data retention, and cross border flow of data. With many countries acknowledging the importance of data protection and introducing data protection legislations, the proposed data protection bill for Sri Lanka comes at a good time. It is important for private sector stakeholders and consumer organizations to discuss and deliberate upon a policy framework that would best position the country to benefit from rapid digitization of the domestic and global economy.

The event will see the participation of representatives from various government departments and agencies as well as the private sector. The PPD looks to enhance effective cross-sectoral dialogue to develop an inclusive bill taking into consideration the pragmatic business and societal interests of all concerned stakeholders.

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