International Perspectives on Data Protection and its Relationship to Records Management
: Recommendations for Emerging Practice in the West Indies

  • Cherri-Ann Beckles

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    In the new millennium, West Indian territories began embarking on the introduction of information rights legislation such as Freedom of Information (FoI) and Data Protection. However, this type of legislation is proving challenging for West Indian nation states to implement. This thesis investigates the challenges faced by West Indian territories as it relates to the implementation of data protection legislation and explores the idea that these challenges are as a result of their historical background and developmental trajectory. Additionally, the thesis considers the implications of data protection for West Indian societies and a contextual account is undertaken to explain why data protection as a concept is misinterpreted, misunderstood or unknown by policy-makers and the citizenry at large.

    Moreover, the study seeks to understand and explore whether the sub-standard management of records and information compared with internationally accepted standards, at all levels of West Indian society could be seen as a significant obstacle to the introduction of information rights legislation, in particular, the implementation, regulation and enforcement of data protection. The thesis analyses whether there is an irrefutable link between data protection and records management and if a sound records management environment would provide the required stability for the successful implementation of data protection at all levels.

    In seeking to inform emerging practice in the West Indies, this is the first multi-disciplinary study that examines the provisions for data protection in select international jurisdictions from a records management perspective. The jurisdictions selected for examination are two European Union Member States, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand where four distinct approaches for the implementation of data protection have been identified. The study examines the core principles, policies, procedures and practices in these four models for data protection using a comparative approach. Thereafter, principally qualitative data is extrapolated towards the development of a framework for the implementation of data protection in the West Indies with a view of data protection’s relationship to records management.

    The thesis first interrogates how and why data protection emerged as a public issue across the selected jurisdictions in order to establish the main drivers in these societies. It examines the relationship between data protection and the management of records and information, particularly as it relates to the administration and use of the personal data of citizens by public and private agencies. It explores how new trends and advances in technology impact on data protection and records management in today’s digital world. Using the data gathered, it identifies the main drivers and obstacles for the West Indies as they relate to data protection implementation and finally, what issues are expected to arise with the implementation of data protection and the management of records and information in future that would affect regions similar to the West Indies. Additionally, the comparative research makes a case for key solutions, mechanisms and strategies that would prepare professionals working with records and information for how to deal with data protection implementation in an increasingly technological environment in the West Indies.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorColin Reid (Supervisor) & Patricia Whatley (Supervisor)

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