In May 2018, Malta will apply the General Regulation on Data Protection, providing wider consumer protection, including the right for data which has already been processed from organisations.
Consumers will have the right to be notified where and until when their personal data is being stored, and will have better rights in personal data restrictions if the consumer feels that certain information is incorrect, or if the consumer wishes to impose the extent to which personal data is shared.
Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection Deo Debattista said that consumers and citizens alike had to be aware and have access to information about their rights in this sector, which is why the Government had to lead by example.
During his opening speech at a seminar organised by the Data Protection Commission, Mr Debattista said his sector had strong connections to consumer rights.
“However, for many years, consumers would give away personal details in their transactions without a second thought. On the contrary, this was expected of them to benefit from a quicker and more efficient service.”
“Service providers also did not limit the use of personal data in their transactions and would use them for different purposes. The selling of personal data was the norm, and entire marketing strategies would be planned according to consumer preferences. Consumers had little knowledge of where their personal data is being sent.”
Despite the awareness raised with the introduction of the Data Protection Act in Malta in 2004, Mr Debattista said the sector needed to move forward.
“In my role as Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection it is my aim to see that citizens’ rights are respected and strengthened according to social changes and developments.”