Information boss cannot call back released data

| 20/02/2015 | 8 Comments

(CNS): As the Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO) begins an enquiry into the recent release of a swathe of data relating to work permits, officials confirmed that the ICO cannot step in to resolve disputes over personal information until Cayman has a data protection law. Jan Liebaers, the acting information commissioner, said Thursday that he was aware of the disclosure of permit data by immigration in response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Law and the subsequent injunction issued by the Grand Court.

“The ICO has opened an investigation of this matter under authority of sections 46 and 44 of the FOI Law, and intends to publish its findings in a report to follow,” he said. Liebaers confirmed that the report would be made public and that it was expected to take a few weeks.

“While the focus of the FOI Law is clearly on openness, transparency and accountability, the Law does not endorse the disclosure of all information held by public authorities. Instead, it provides for a careful balancing of interests when questions of disclosure are considered by information managers, chief officers and the ICO,” he explained.

“Where personal information is concerned, the Law and related Regulations outline step-by-step procedures to invite input from third-party individuals whose personal data is being considered for disclosure. Our investigation will determine whether these procedures and any other applicable provisions were followed in this case,” he added.

Although the office will be looking at the procedural aspects, the ICO has no powers to protect personal data from being released because there is still no legislation in place.

In this case it is still not clear, however, whether the release of the work permit data was personal information, as no names were released on the spreadsheets released, which have been seen by most members of the media but are now the subject of an injunction.

The complaint regarding the release of the extensive amount of information concerns the ability of people to deduce who the individuals are that hold the permits. As a result, four leading financial firms have filed a court action arguing that the information could cause significant workplace and commercial harm as employees learn the salaries of their co-workers.

The firms are seeking a judicial review of the IM’s decision at immigration but no date has been set for the hearing.

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Category: Government oversight, Laws, Politics

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Caymanian not working for any of those companies and I agree it’s none of our business what these people salaries are. It does cause problems in the workplace when co-workers know your salary.

  2. Anonymous says:

    My employees sign a contract which states they cannot reveal their salary. If that is breached they are asked to find another job. By “asked to find another job” I mean of course mean “fired”.

  3. Driftwood says:

    As an employee of one of the companies affected, I am pretty pissed off. It would be pretty easy to guess which employee I am due to role, position and nationality. However my salary is my business, no-one elses and should remain between me, my employer and immigration. If I dont like my salary, or am not happy with the job in general I will change my job or the shareholders I work for. Again, totally my business and thats it. At the lower end of teh scale, it may well be kept secret to avoid jealousies or keep salaries lower, at my level, I am very fortunate to have a lot of choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      So, Driftwood, why should my salary as a civil servant be open to all so you all can castigate us as overpaid and underworked etc. You private sector people are a bunch of pampered pompous arrogant “at my level” twats.

      • Joey says:

        Because you work for the government. Private sector is called private for a reason. Get a life buddy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Charges on a minister’s credit card are redacted as it will cause too much harm to country, but here have all this information sent to us confidentially because it is about private company’s so that it ok!
    You can’t make this stuff up!
    Has the government not just broken their much heralded Preservation law
    Next they will have a request from fraudesters asking for names, DOB, addresses and passport numbers and copies, and Immigration will just sent it out at first request.
    Civil Servants do such a great job in Cayman, well done!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is a rush to go hush-hush again about salaries that are in many cases not what the employee deserves for his experience, leadership, education etc but so the lower paid staff does not get their knickers in a knot!! That’s why these companies wants to hide the salary scale……No other reason!! Just to keep indentured servitude in their place after all the SLAVES must have MASTERS!! Glad to know the info is out though!!! Hahahahaha #justmytwocents

  6. Anonymous says:

    It us surprising when corporation or any financial institution or partnership argues that commercial or workplace harm can be caused by having employee learning the salaries of their coworkers. This is nothing more than a method of control and ability to treat each employee subjectively when it comes to monetary reward such as salary. Perhaps if employers paid appropriate wages, salaries etc.for the quality of each employee rather than based on sex or nationality or personal judgements rather than objective criteria. It has been this game for decades where the employer always wants every employee to be as quiet and secretive as possible when it comes to remuneration. this is to protect the bad judgements of employers not for any concern for their employees.

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