Data Protection relates to the processes and controls used to safeguard information about identifiable individuals (i.e., personal data) and their privacy.
Gibraltar’s data protection law consists of the Gibraltar General Data Protection Regulation (“Gibraltar GDPR”) and the Data Protection Act 2004 (“DPA”), and contain a set of principles that organisations including public bodies and businesses must adhere to. The Gibraltar GDPR and the DPA, which must be read together, provide a comprehensive and modern data protection framework for Gibraltar and maintain the data protection standards that applied prior to 1st January 2021, when the EU GDPR and the EU Law Enforcement Directive 2016/680 were in force.
The DPA designates the GRA, as Information Commissioner, to be the supervisory authority in Gibraltar. The general functions conferred on the Information Commissioner in relation to its tasks and powers are assigned under Part V and VI of the DPA.
In addition, the Communications (Personal Data and Privacy) Regulations 2006 are applicable to electronic communications containing or making use of personal data, and, as the name suggests, the Data Protection (Search and Seizure) Regulations 2006 govern the rules surrounding search and seizure by the Information Commissioner.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
The Freedom of Information Act 2018
The Freedom of Information Act 2018 provides public access to information held by public authorities. It is based on the principle that people have a right to know about the activities of these public authorities, unless there is a good reason for them not to. The default position is therefore to only keep information private when there is good reason to.
This is achieved by obliging public authorities to publish certain information about their activities and giving members of the public the right to request information held by them.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2018, the GRA, with powers conferred upon the Information Commissioner, has regulatory responsibilities and provides an advisory service with regard to matters covered by the Act.
The Freedom of Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2005
The Freedom of Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2005 provides public access to environmental information held by public authorities. Environmental information includes, amongst other things, the state of the elements (such as water, soil and land), factors (such as noise, radiation and water) likely to affect those elements and measures and activities affecting or likely to affect those elements and factors. It may also include relevant reports and analyses, as well as the state of human health and safety.
The Regulations are derived from European law, namely the European Council Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information and provide regulatory responsibilities to the GRA.
The GRA is the national supervisory and regulatory authority for telecommunications in Gibraltar.
Under the Communications Act 2006 (the “Act”), the GRA is responsible for regulating the electronic communications sector as well as the management of radio spectrum, promoting media literacy and better public awareness and understanding of any material published on electronic media.
The GRA is tasked with developing effective choice of electronic communications services in Gibraltar for both business and residential customers by facilitating market entry through the issuing of general authorisations and licences. Its remit also includes fixed-line telephony, internet access/broadband, mobile voice and data services and the management of radio spectrum in Gibraltar. Radio spectrum management involves frequency allocation and licensing, enforcement, interference investigations, compliance to electromagnetic fields levels, maintaining the Gibraltar Frequency Allocation Table, and terrestrial and satellite international coordination. Furthermore, the GRA has delegated powers under the Outer Space Act which forms the legal basis for the regulation of activities in outer space for any Gibraltar connected entity.
In relation to media literacy, the responsibilities assigned to the GRA under the Act allows for a better public understanding of the associated risks of electronic media content, and how material is selected and made available for publication via electronic media.
The GRA is responsible for regulating media service providers under Gibraltar jurisdiction and carries out its duties under the Broadcasting Act 2012.
These include granting and enforcing licences to media service providers of radio, television and on-demand services, compliance monitoring of their services, investigating complaints about licensed media service providers, dealing with regulatory matters relating to broadcasting standards, issuing codes of practice and guidance notes, encouraging the promotion of media literacy, publishing information, and providing advice to consumers and broadcasters.
Under the Civil Contingency Act 2007, the GRA is responsible for the security of network and information systems in respect of designated operators of essential services and of designated digital services.
Additionally, the GRA is also the single point of contact for the security of network and information systems for Gibraltar. Its remit includes regulating, supervising and enforcing compliance; establishing a list of operators of essential services; investigating breaches; issuing guidance to operators of essential services or digital service providers; drawing up codes of practice; recording and reporting incident notifications; and conducting or organising inspections.
The University of Gibraltar (Regulation and Accountability) Regulations 2018 designated the GRA as the Gibraltar Authority for Standards in Higher Education and the Gibraltar Higher Education Commission as provided for in the University of Gibraltar Act 2015.
The responsibilities of the Gibraltar Authority for Standards in Higher Education is to establish and safeguard academic standards and provide quality assurance in respect of the university’s academic programmes. The functions of the Gibraltar Higher Education Commission is to monitor compliance with the University’s duties and obligations under the university regulations and to maintain its autonomy and academic freedom.
The GRA is designated as the competent authority for the promotion and enforcement of competition law in Gibraltar. Pursuant to such designation, the GRA must discharge all the functions, duties and obligations in accordance with the Competition Act 2020, acting in its capacity as the Gibraltar Competition and Markets Authority (the “GCMA”).
The mission of the GCMA is to make markets work well in the interests of consumers, businesses and the economy. Competition provides firms with incentives to deliver what consumers want, to provide value for money, to produce efficiently and to innovate; whilst well-informed, active consumers can play a key role in driving competition between firms.
The GRA is responsible for the granting and enforcement of licences and general authorisations to postal service providers under the provisions of the Post Office Act.
The GRA’s statutory objective is to promote development, issue guidance and enhance competition within the local postal services sector, whilst securing the provision of a competitive universal postal service at an affordable price for all users in Gibraltar. The GRA is also responsible for monitoring the operational developments of the designated universal service provider and monitoring performance against established standards.