Categorized | National News

Data Security For Consumers

As the world becomes more digital, there is a greater concern for protection of personal data when it comes to the use of smart products.

Keeping personal information like addresses, National Insurance numbers and bank information from hackers, is becoming a growing concern for consumers in the digital world.

For this reason, the Ministry of Labour’s Triad Group, which includes the Consumer Protection Commission (CPC), in celebrating World Consumer Rights Week, and will embark on educating the public on  data security.

During a press conference to announce the CPC’s week of activities, which began yesterday, CPC Research Officer, Lavade Darling, said that the Data Commission will be a part of the slate of activities, bringing a better awareness of where the country is in protecting consumers data.

Mr. Darling said with this year’s World Consumer Rights Day focus on the theme “Trusted Smart Products”, its an amalgamation of past themes beginning from 2017.

“The theme really began in 2017; it’s a development of previous themes. In 2017 we had “Building a Digital World That Consumers Can Trust”.  In 2018 it was “Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer.

“The international movement has really been focusing on the digital revolution, digital products, smart products actually for the past three years.

“The major concern as it relates to smart products is that they are connected by default.  Automatically your smart watch, automatically your smart T.V. your smart phone, they automatically connect to to the internet.

Not only are they connecting to the internet,  they are talking to one another;   it’s called the internet of things. So, the concerns really about data security, who are they talking to? who is your data being shared with?” Mr. Darling said.

As companies like BPL and Water  and  Sewerage are set to go paperless- leaving everything to the worldwide web- there is skepticism with making purchases and or payments online using credit cards. Mr. Darling said it is also a concern of the international movement.

“It’s a major consumer protection issue when talking about data protection, security of your data.  The data belongs to you, that’s your personal information.

“Smart phones now, they contain a lot of information, they have all of your digital information, they have all your financial information, your personal information, all of that information is actually stored in your smart products.

“The threat begins when a hacker hacks into your smart watch, because it does not have the security mechanism of your smart phone but because that watch is connected to the other connected items in your home it presents a possible security breach or security threat.

“That’s what the international movement is actually concerned about,” Mr. Darling said.

The Bahamas joins the world in celebrating World Consumer Rights week, March 11 – 15.

According to  Executive Director of Consumer Protection Commission and Chairman of World Consumer Rights Week, Ricardo Deveaux, the week will be used to highlight the real impact of the digital world, as well as geared towards highlighting how important it is to put consumers needs and wants at the heart of the development of digital products and services.

“From smart phones, and meters to wearable fitness trackers, voice activated assistance, smart  TV’s and smart security systems, Apps usage and privacy, many of the products we use are increasingly becoming connected by default.

“The Ministry of Labour, Triad Group, which includes Consumer Protection Commission, Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality and Consumer Affairs Unit (Price Control), have partnered with the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA), Data Commission, BPL, Water and Sewerage Corporation, BTC, Aliv, Security Systems International and Kraven Bahamas to assist us during the week in exhibiting various products and services.

“We understand what consumers want and need from a connected world and will continue to emphasize the importance of consumers having access to digital products and services that they can trust,” Mr. Deveaux said.

Also During this week,  Business and Commerce students in various junior and senior schools will get first hand knowledge through presentations on consumer education awareness and smart products.

A special ceremony and exhibition at the Mall at Marathon is scheduled for Wednesday and will lead the way to World Consumer Rights Day which will be celebrated on Friday March 15.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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