We have to protect the privacy of Ghanaians – Communications Minister

Haruna Iddrisu – Communications Minister

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, on Thursday called for an enabling legal and regulatory environment for the protection of the individual in a global regime controlled by information.

He said development of the internet and computer networks had caused significant generation of personal data, which usually kept across servers in different locations, had the potential of being shared by different legal and natural persons in a manner that was not contemplated when the data was given.

Mr Iddrisu made the observation at a one day training programme on Data Protection Act, organised by the Ministry of Communication on the theme, “Ensuring the Protection of Privacy in the Information Age.”

“The Data Protection Act is therefore, enacted to protect us, our privacy and data,” he said.

According to Minister, the workshop was to sensitise the public and facilitate the implementation of legislations in efforts to develop an enabling legal and regulatory environment for the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Mr Iddrisu said the Act would guarantee specific rights and obligations to the processing of one’s information to protect the sacred precincts of personal life in the information age.

He explained that the underlying notion behind the codification of data protection was the ever growing need to process personal data as well as the right of every Ghanaian to the privacy of his or her communication which must be guaranteed in the processing of his or her personal data irrespective of the medium used.

“Given the strong linkage between issues relating to personal data and privacy, the potential for personal data to be used in ways that can violate one’s right to privacy has therefore, made government to provide this Act,” he added.

Professor Kofi Kumado, Constitutional Lawyer and Director of University of Ghana Centre for International Affairs, said the Act established a data protection commission to protect the privacy of the individual and personal data by regulating the processing of personal information, to provide the mechanisms for obtaining, using or disclosing such information and other related issues.

He said the Act would protect aspects including issues of national security, crime and taxation, health, education, social work, regulatory activities such as banking, insurance, investment, and literary works, research and statistics.

Prof. Kumado said the circumstances under which personal data could be collected and the rights and obligations were defined clearly by the Act, adding that a data controller who processed personal data should ensure that the data was completed, accurate, up to date and not misleading having regard to the purpose for the collection or processing of the personal data.

Source: GNA

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