Warning issued on ‘outing’ COVID patients

| 03/04/2020 | 28 Comments

(CNS): Governor Martyn Roper and Police Commissioner Derek Byrne have both used the daily press briefings to warn people not to try to find out and expose the identities of people who have tested positive for COVID-19. And now the Ombudsman has confirmed that there are legal consequences as well as moral issues. The Data Protection Law makes it an offence to misuse personal data, especially sensitive medical and health related information.

“Aside from the moral, ethical and societal implications surrounding the stigma associated with naming and shaming another human being, there are legal implications if sensitive personal data is made public,” the Office of the Ombudsman stated in a release.

“Individuals who decide how to use personal data must ensure that it is only used for proper purposes, for example, treating a patient at the hospital. Any medical or administrative staff members who release sensitive personal data to people and who are not authorised to do so can be guilty of an offence under the law and liable on conviction to a fine of up to $100,000,” the office warned.

The Data Protection Law does not only apply to officials; it may also applies to private citizens who disclose information about another person’s health, such as whether they have COVID-19. The release of such information could also contravene other laws relating to defamation, harassment or incitement.

Earlier this week, the governor said it was not acceptable that there appeared to be people actively seeking to find out who had tested positive for COVID-19 and where these patients were.

“The confidentiality of any patient is very important,” he said. “Please spare a thought for what these individuals are going through at a very difficult and anxious time. How would you feel if it was you? I appeal to everyone to show true Caymankind spirit in how we handle this.”

The police commissioner has confirmed that his officers will be vigilant regarding people attempting to expose COVID-19 patients.

Anyone who is aware of “outing” can make a complaint to the ombudsman’s office on 946-6283 or emailing info@ombudsman.ky.

More information about Data Protection can be found on the Office of the Ombudsman’s website. The public is invited to submit questions any time via email or by calling the office.

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Category: Crime, Health, health and safety

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s worrying that there could be so many people pushing Reshima to ask these questions and that she doesn’t have a filter to know that it’s none of their business. Almost every question from fielded from her involves The pursuit of prosecution, and exacting punishments.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Could the authorities please let fishermen go out to fish? Can we please even toss out a line on the beach? Many of us are vegetarian and would love to eat a little fresh fish. Being in a boat is a pretty big social distance in the first place. Authorities threatening people with jail is another
    stupid idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many of us are vegetarian and would love to eat a little fresh fish? Do you not know what the word vegetarian means. The ignorance around here is astounding.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if it’s illegal to out that one fass woman in particular who keeps circulating disinformation via voice notes? Chile, If I had as much dirty laundry as you, I wouldn’t go round I would think twice before making other people’s business my work at home business. You feel me?

  4. Anon says:

    This is a two way street, those that have it and are sitting at home are entitled to confidentiality but they owe a duty to the public not to behave irresponsibly whilst in the so-called “self quarantine”.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If they want to know so much, give them a direct shot of it and then they can be outed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is what we have come to. Reminds me medieval witch-hunt.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, my name is David Shibli and as far as I know (pretty sure actually), I am Covid-19 free.
    If I do however catch the Covid (God forbid) , I would ask to be outed so that all the people that have been in contact with me can contact the appropriate authorities so that they can get the necessary treatment.
    Mr. Byrne’s logic is flawed and quite frankly smacks of subterfuge.

    Sir, in this difficult time, we require transparency, not secrecy.
    There is already enough panic in the community with the fear of disease and the heavy-handed police approach to a desperately shaken populace.

    The only moral issues here are for the people of the Cayman Islands to know what secret societies you people belong to and what your agenda is, although we already know.

    So will your next press conference make the hammer fall upon us even more than it has done already?

    We are not stupid and we are watching your every move. Will you arrest us for telling the truth? Go ahead.

    • Anonymous says:

      To 4.18pm Of you’re not stupid, then you are high on something.

    • Anonymous says:

      Normally I would 100% agree with you, it makes total sense to be transparent about infections so those contacts know they are at risk and isolate away from others. But many residents are dumb beyond words and can only imagine tackling problems of any kind with violence because they can use their fists better than their brains.
      I can completely see a scenario where people learn someone is infected, blame their loss of job/income on that person as a result, go around, drag them out of their house and give them a good kicking, or worse. That’s the stupid bloody mentality of many here. So yeah, if it was me who was sick, I think I’d keep it quiet too.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are many here who still follow the pirate code and would feel compelled to attack a person and his family moral or not, stupid or not if they feel threatened by you. Please feel free to give your name out if called but leave the choice of it to the individual David Shilbli.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you test positive for the virus and since you seem to care so much you can out yourself. You can make your own announcement. The government does not have to announce it for you.

  8. Andrew says:

    A person was beaten half to death in Jamaica for coughing on a bus. Imagine the identity of a confirmed covid-19 case being releaseD, absolute mayhem. Imagine getting the virus, and have to worry about being killed because you have it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Only Tom Hanks and Prince Charles are fair game. The whole thing stinks to high heavens.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, in most cases of people “outing” their neighbours’ on social media, in regard to contracting the virus, there is not much the police or the Ombudsman can do. While it would be abhorrent under the circumstances to do so the Data Protection Law allows private citizens to “process” other individuals’ personal data for their own personal reasons and they do not need to follow the Data Protection Law…processing includes posting on social media.
    From the Cayman Data Protection Law: “personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs are exempt from the data protection principles”. Notice in the Ombudsman’s statement it says the law “may” apply. The Ombudsman could investigate but it would be extremely unlikely any enforcement action could be taken.
    What the Ombudsman could do is take on the social media platform or company that is processing the personal data, for example, Facebook or Marl Road. Other countries have done this in Europe as well as Canada in other circumstances. Don’t hold your breath if you are hoping for that to happen here though…
    Outing people in the community that have been unlucky enough to catch this nasty virus is revolting but sadly it is just another great case of the true underbelly of CaymanKind.

    • Anon. says:

      @3:22 pm You’re an idiot. I’m so tired of people who come to Cayman and paint every Caymanian with the same brush. It is the same thing that they do to “those people” back home in the US and the UK. So some idiots decide to scour the island for clues as to who has COVID so they can gossip about it, and that is supposed to be indicative of Caymankind? What one Caymanian does, all Caymanians are also guilty of (and YOUR assumption is that these outers are Caymanians)?

      By your same flawed logic then, every white American male identifies with Stephen Craig Paddock and Patrick Crusius, correct? Every white Brit sympathizes with Thomas Hamilton, right? And every European in the EU shares the same disgusting narcissistic personality of Anders Breivik, yes?. Do you see how idiotic your statement is now? Caymanians have no more or less in common with each other than you do with your fellow countrymen. So please, if you want to comment on Caymankind, wait till this XXXX is over, go to a fish fry in East End or Bodden Town. Get out of your Range Rover and sit your ass down and HAVE A CONVERSATION with a Caymanian. Or 2. Or 12. Or 20. Open your mind. Prick.

      • Anon says:

        12.23am I am painting you with the same brush, insulting other commentators is a Cayman habit, but I’m not descending to your level and hurling insults at you. The term “marl road”is a Caymanian term in constant use here to describe local gossip.

        • Anon says:

          @4:27 pm – here is a clue for you, since you are so desperately in need of one, “sadly it is just another great case of the true underbelly of CaymanKind” is insulting to Caymanians. You want to throw stones? Move out of your glass house first. We’re done taking your insults sitting down. So put ‘em up!

          • Anon says:

            1.05pm You are learning your lesson by not insulting me, as for me I would never call you an “idiot” or a ”prick”, that is insulting and I would never insult you no matter how you express yourself.

            • Anon. says:

              @7:40 pm OMG! LMAO! How daft are you? “sadly it is just another great case of the true underbelly of CaymanKind” IS AN INSULT! Either you are intentionally ignoring that fact, or you really are an idiot.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you 12:23am.

    • Anonymous says:

      To 3.22pm No it is not representative of Caymankind but rather Caymanhate.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am so tired of people who are holed up here for their livelihood always bad- mouthing Caymanians for things we do and things we haven’t even thought of doing. Human nature is basically the same just different circumstances bringing out the best or the worse in all of us. COvid-19 is no respect of persons- it is not worried about the skin colour, the nationality nor the bank balance. We are all in this together and I hope and pray that my Caymanian family, my Caymanian people, my New Zealand, Canadian, Irish, Jamaican, South African, my American co- workers and their families here on the Rock as well as their relatives abroad will come through this unscathed. Let us put aside the hate and bad-mouthing please. If you who loves to hate are on the Rock, remember Covid- 19 can teach us all a lesson, if you detest us so please kindly go back where the grass is obviously greener when the planes start flying again. I put hatred in the same category with the earthquake, hurricane and the virus. All is the evil we do not need any more of!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Even if you think you are right, action of that type still could very well be illegal on grounds of harassment and incitement

    • Anonymous says:

      Outing someone on social media is not “purely personal” reasons

  11. Anonymous says:

    I cant believe some people on this island are actually doing this. How would you feel if it were you or your family who had the virus and a bunch of nasty, nosy people were trying to find out who you are and were you live!? Mind your own business people! This sort of behavior undermines trust and is not morally right. We can do better than this. Show some Caymankind!

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