The recent enactment of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance 2000 creates a legal framework for e-commerce and electronic transactions in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The law is broken down into six main sections:
- electronic records;
- communication of electronic records;
- electronic signatures;
- data protection; and
- intermediaries and e-commerce service providers.
The ordinance gives documents in electronic form the same legal weight as those on paper. Legal recognition is also given to electronic signatures.
Communication of electronic records
Contracts can be created by electronic means, and practical issues such as place and time of sending and receipt are dealt with.
A regime is contemplated for the authorization of service providers who will certify electronic signatures. This will be further developed by more specific regulations.
The governor has the power to issue regulations to deal with the use, import and export of encryption programs and products.
There is provision made for the voluntary registration of data controllers and data processors. Standards for the processing of personal data may be established by regulation, and volunteers will have to comply with those standards.
Intermediaries and e-commerce service providers
Intermediaries are excluded from civil and criminal liability for the information contained in an electronic record, in certain circumstances. Codes of conduct and standards for intermediaries and e-commerce service providers will be introduced, and enforced by the relevant ministry.
The ordinance is designed to facilitate e-commerce and electronic transactions in and from the Turks and Caicos Islands. Its enactment coincides with the introduction of broadband fiber optic cable to the Turks and Caicos Islands, a project which is expected to be completed by February 2001.
For further information of this topic please contact Owen Foley at Misick & Stanbrook by telephone (+1 649 964 4732) or by fax (+1 649 946 4734) or by e-mail at ([email protected]).
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