A one-day conference on the theme "Data Protection Today - Breaking the Iceberg", and regrouping more than 350 participants, kicked off this morning, at Intercontinental Hotel, in Balaclava. The Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Darsanand Balgobin, the Data Protection Commissioner, Mrs Drudeisha Madhub, the Executive Director of the World Privacy Forum, Ms Pam Dixon, and other personalities were present at the opening ceremony.
The aim of this conference, organised by the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation in collaboration with the Data Protection Office (DPO), is to assess the implementation stages of the Data Protection Act 2017 in Mauritius and to enhance the understanding of data protection laws of the country. Participants, both from public and private sectors, who have day-to-day responsibility for data protection are provided, through this conference, with an appropriate platform to analyse the depth of the implementation process and seek further clarification on the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2017.
In his opening remarks, Minister Balgobin dwelt on the importance of protecting each individual's privacy and confidential information. Mauritius needs data protection laws and enforcement, he pointed out, adding that the conference will give participants the opportunity to explore different avenues in this field.
He recalled that, in January 2018, Mauritius was the first country in the world to introduce a legislation compliant with the principles of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and which later came into force in May 2018. This, he emphasised, shows the importance that Government gives to the Information, Communication and Technology sector. Several countries, he said, have continuously adopted data protection standards cumulating into the GDPR, which mainly aims at giving control to individuals over their personal data and at simplifying the environment for international business.
For her part, Mrs Madhub underlined that the DPO has observed an important shift in mindset through the abundant requests for legal opinions received from various organisations and controllers have adopted proactive measures to comply with the provisions of the law such as implementation of adequate security and organisational measures to address personal data breaches. Privacy is no longer a comfort today, but a necessity. It is thus important that all organisations embark on a journey to reach a level of personal data protection that matches the rapidly evolving changes in technology that are going around us, she added.
The Executive Director of the World Privacy Forum outlined that, with regard to privacy, Mauritius has already put itself on the map in a positive and prominent manner through its progressively smart approach. She further indicated that the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation has carried out a great work in adapting modern privacy ideas for Africa and Mauritius.
On that occasion, the Guide on Data Protection and Media, as well as the Data Protection Training Toolkit were launched by Minister Balgobin.