(CMR) The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday warned that it was against the law for people to disclose the names of Caymanians and others, who test positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
The office, which is headed up by Ombudsman Sally Hermiston, cited the Cayman Islands Data Protection Law (“the Law”) as the law in which those who share such information about an individual would be in breach of.
“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,” read a release from the office.
The law, which came into effect on September 30, 2019, makes it an offense to disclose under certain circumstances information about a person’s health, which is considered “sensitive personal data”.
According to the law, such data is subject to more stringent controls and scrutiny. Individuals who decide how to use personal data (data controllers) 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 offense under the Law and liable on conviction to a fine of up to $100,000. In addition, releasing such information could violate other Cayman Islands laws relating to defamation, harassment or incitement.
The Data Protection Law can be applied to private citizens who disclose information about another person’s health, such as whether they have COVID-19.
If any such incidents occur, individuals may make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman by calling 946-6283 or emailing [email protected]