Press Release:

ODPA marks International Data Protection Day

Published: 27 January 2021

To mark the 15th International Data Protection Day on Thursday 28 January 2021, the Bailiwick of Guernsey’s Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) is highlighting the progress made locally to engage with the community and the importance of this continuing, especially during the latest challenges posed by the pandemic.

The ODPA has several initiatives underway both to support people working with data in the community but also to help the public understand what personal data is and how they can look after their own data well. These include education and awareness, such as the recent launch of the schools’ outreach project and a rolling events programme, as well as the everyday tasks of responding to and handling complaints.

Emma Martins, Bailiwick of Guernsey Data Protection Commissioner, explains how these activities fit with the Authority’s aims and goals.

“We aim to be clear and accountable in how we approach our duties and in our published Strategic Plan we set out our desire to build awareness and engagement throughout our whole community using an array of different tools and approaches including the roll-out of our schools’ programme, podcasts, newsletters, sector specific events, to name but a few. More recently we have tried to give timely and relevant information to businesses that have had their work disrupted by the public health crisis.

“One of the many strengths of the Bailiwick is its community. The pandemic and all the enormous challenges that continues to present, has highlighted the extraordinary power of being together and working together towards a common goal.”

Mrs Martins also commented on how the Bailiwick of Guernsey Data Protection Association (BGDPA) brings local professionals together to learn and share ideas and information.

“This truly is a community effort and there are so many new opportunities for jurisdictions like ours to work collaboratively in a smart and innovative way in this field.”

Richard Field, Chairman of the BGDPA, remarked on the organisation’s activities and its role in the regulated community.

“The BGDPA was established as a forum for anyone working with personal data to share experiences, ideas and concerns in a global regulatory environment evolving at a blistering pace. We have established a programme of events and continue to act as a liaison between industry and the regulator, providing feedback on consultations and addressing queries and concerns.

“Whilst many of the issues we see relate to businesses in the financial services sector, data protection affects every one of us as citizens and all businesses handling customer data, regardless of sector. The benefits (and challenges) are common to us all. The lockdown has brought additional hurdles to overcome, but our experience from 2020 will stand us in good stead.”

International Data Protection Day, which is held on 28 January each year, commemorates the signing of the convention by the Council of Europe in 1981 which was the first, legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. 15 years ago, the Council launched the day to help raise awareness of the issues and our rights regarding data.
  • See also, our commissioner, Emma Martins' Blog: Data Protection Day 2021.
  • The ODPA will continue to support and assist local organisations in all areas of compliance and it recognises the additional challenges that they are facing at this time. Details of support available to small businesses is available online, see for details of how to access this along with for details of how to look after data in extraordinary circumstances.