Data Protection Conference Highlights

Juristconsult Chambers is pleased to share with you some of the major highlights of the conference entitled “The Mauritius Data Protection Act 2017 (“DPA”) and the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”): Legal Challenges and Opportunities”, held on the 31 st of August at Hennessy Park Hotel, Mauritius.

We had the pleasure to welcome among us Dr (Mrs) R. Y. Moorghen, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mrs Drudeisha Madhub, the Data Protection Commissioner and a GDPR expert, Florence Guthfreund-Roland, Partner at DLA Piper (France).

Nicolas Richard, the Managing Partner at Juristconsult Chambers (“Juristconsult”) outlined the importance of privacy of data which is a valuable resource in this digital era. Dr R. Y. Moorghen stated that failing to satisfy the different criteria set by these regulations may result in financial implications. The Data Protection Commissioner affirms that she is taking the challenge in making Mauritius in line with the international standards namely the GDPR. She also outlined various aspects of the Data Protection Act 2017 for organisations to be fully compliant with the laws.

Shalinee Dreepaul Halkhoree, Partner at Juristconsult elaborated on the following topics in her presentation namely; the laws relating to Data Protection, the various principles relating to the processing of personal data and the obligations of the controllers and processors. For instance, a Data Protection Officer has the responsibility of ensuring that the staffs are appropriately trained on Data Protection law. On the other hand Bhavish Sewraz, Associate- Barrister at the firm considered the different rights that are available to the data subject and what can be the consequences in case of non-compliance. The Data Protection Act 2017 prescribes that where no specific penalty is provided, a fine of Rs.200, 000 and imprisonment not exceeding 5 years may be applicable.

During the legal panel discussion, Anshi Saminaden, Group Head Legal at Harel Mallac elaborated on how they are implementing these new measures and what are the challenges which she has faced in her organisation.

Our guest speaker from France, Florence Guthfreund-Roland, gave an overview of the GDPR which according to her is not very different from the Data Protection Act 2017. She avers that Mauritius can be proud to be among the first African countries to have a Data Protection legislation aimed to be in line with the EU GDPR. In her presentation, she went back to 1995 where a framework was established for the protection of Data. She gave insightful information taking the model of a hotel booking to explain how in simple transactions the GDPR may be applicable.

The conference was closed with a Panel Discussion between Bhavish Sewraz and Nirusha Keerpaul Toocaram, Consultant at BDO, Rajiv Seeras, Director at Mindshift Consulting Ltd and Clarel Constance, Chief Operations Officer at FRCI explaining about various solutions to add security, value and efficiency to business processes and to comply with the Data Protection Laws.