The Ghana Data Protection Commission has urged public and private institutions who have not signed onto their data protection platforms do so within the stipulated grace period. The commission from October 1, 2020, to April 1, 2021, is allowing institutions that use any form of public and private data to apply under the laws in order not to breach privacy acts.
This comes on the back of data privacy breaches by the Electoral Commission (EC) after it published the voters register on google drive. The Executive Director of the Ghana Data Protection Commission, Patricia Adusei-Poku, in a Citi Trends interview, said the commission will be enforcing its privacy laws to the letter after the grace period.
“Between now and March 31st, we have given an amnesty for people to register. You pay once and then you are in sync with us. The road map for compliance and then you get the roadmap to accountability.”
She also explained the need for the institutions to get registered. “We help them to understand the obligations that they have under the law. Before COVID people were coming in for free drop-in sessions. Now we do it online, where people get to find out their various obligations. If you don’t register we don’t know who you are.”
“She further indicated that the commission will begin a “serious enforcement exercise” in the first week in April to ensure that as many institutions as possible register.
EC defends decision to make voters register public
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, has justified the decision to make the electoral roll public. She insists that the Commission’s actions are backed by the law.
“Our systems are very secure and for the register that was put out, we are enjoined by law to publish the voters’ register,” Mrs. Mensa said at a training workshop for journalists on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. C.I. 127 requires that the provisional voter register is published on our website. That same law states that the final register is published in a manner for which the Commission deems fit.”
Mrs. Mensa also said the publishing of the register was to ensure “transparency and openness.” The commission published the roll on its website via Google Drive prompting concerns over privacy and data security. The list published contained the names, voter identification numbers, ages, and genders of persons registered to vote.
The list of voters was eventually pulled down but only temporarily, according to Mrs. Mensa.