Data Privacy: From a "Good-to-Have" Need to "Must-Have" Need
Identity theft, ATM skimming, and kidnapping are criminal activities that have evolved from random acts committed by individuals or poorly organized criminal gangs into well-organized and well-funded criminal enterprises. These criminal enterprises are businesses, in which data collection and management form crucial parts of the operation.
It is in light of these less-than-favorable developments that we very much welcomed in 2013 that the government of Curacao introduced regulations governing the protection of personal data. The National Ordinance on the Protection of Personal Data sets rules for the protection of personal privacy, as it relates to the recording, processing, and storage of data.
Dutch and European regulations were followed and incorporated in the formulation of the National Ordinance on the Protection of Personal Data. Therefore, the level of data and confidentiality protection that is guaranteed by the National Ordinance is comparable to the level of protection in place in European jurisdictions huge benefit for those arranging their international affairs via Curacao.
The National Ordinance also applies to all data that can provide information on an identifiable natural person. Obvious examples include name, date of birth, address, gender, etc. This includes data that does not directly identify a certain person but that nevertheless provides enough relevant information on a person that he or she could be identified.
The National Ordinance therefore also applies to the confidentiality of data that can indirectly reveal the identity of persons. The National Ordinance also applies to the automated or manual processing of data. Processing includes all actions that are related to the collection and recording of information, request and usage of data, distribution, and deletion and destruction of data.
Personal data may only be collected for limited, expressly stated purposes and personal data may only be processed for specific purposes as noted in the National Ordinance. Processing of personal data on the basis of someone's religion, race, political orientation, health, etc. is strictly prohibited.
To supervise the processing of personal data and compliance with the National Ordinance, a Personal Data Protection Board has been established. The Board is independent and carries out its tasks without government interference or influence. In case of violations of the National Ordinance, the Board can impose fines or sentence a party violating the National ordinance to imprisonment.
If a party feels it has been unjustly treated in a verdict or decision by the Personal Data Protection Board, the party involved can appeal to the Court of First Instance of Curacao and, if the case remains unresolved, ultimately appeal to the court of highest recourse in The Hague, The Netherlands.
In addition to Curacao's well-developed professional infrastructure and many fiscal incentives, the introduction of this new legislation makes Curacao's even more a jurisdiction of choice for many professionals when structuring international affairs for their clients.