The Bahamas has worked to modernize its laws for the digital age by adding provisions that promote modern business communication. For example, the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act and the Data Protection (Privacy of Personal Information) Act address the increasingly frequent role that technology plays in transactions and exchanges of personal information.
The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act shows recognition of the fact that modern businesses use electronic communications, contracts, and signatures. It provides that electronic signatures, for example, have the same effect as written signatures in most circumstances. There are some exceptions to the general rule that electronic signatures have legal effect, such as if used in wills, trusts, and real property transactions.
Contracts formed electronically, such as an offer and acceptance passed on through email, are considered to have legal effect under the Act. It details when electronic communications can be attributed to a specific person and acknowledgement of receipt of electronic communications. The Act also provides some legal protection to intermediaries in electronic transactions, such as hosts and Internet service providers. Finally, it establishes an ecommerce advisory board for The Bahamas. All of these provisions facilitate modern business communication, which often takes place entirely on the Internet, by confirming the legal effect of communicating online.
The Data Protection (Privacy of Personal Information) Act addresses the privacy concerns that frequently arise when information is transmitted electronically. It protects both personal data, meaning information that identifies a person, and sensitive personal data, meaning information about a person's health, race, criminal history, political opinions, sex life, and trade union involvement. These types of data can easily be shared on the Internet. The Act prevents businesses from unnecessarily sharing personal data and requires them to keep it secure. In some instances, businesses that collect and store personal data owe a duty of care to the persons whose data they keep.
These Bahamian laws promote digital communications and protect private information often gathered online. The Bahamas continues to favor legislation that acknowledges developments in technology and business communication.
To find out more about the laws relating to electronic communications and the protection of private information in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.
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