50 data controllers in trouble

Mrs. Teki Akuettah, Commissioner,  Data Protection Commission

Mrs. Teki Akuettah, Commissioner, Data Protection Commission

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) of Ghana has said it will prosecute 50 data controller companies for refusing to register with the commission.

This follows the decision by the commission to ensure strict compliance of the Data Protection Act 2012 (Act 843) which obliged all data controller companies to obtain license from the commission before operation.

Speaking to the media at a workshop organised by Microsoft Ghana to mark this year’s World Privacy Day in Accra yesterday, The Commissioner of DPC, Mrs. Teki Akuettah declined to give the names of the companies but noted that the commission was in close collaboration with the Ghana Police Service to prosecute them in the next few weeks.

The workshop, which was on the theme, “Ghana’s Digital Transformation Journey”, brought together various stakeholders from the public, private sectors and other non-governmental organisations to discuss issues related to data and technology.

It was used to launch a 1 billion data system known as Microsoft Cloud which has created the avenue for businesses and organisations in the country to save their data in a more protected and comprehensive system at a subsidised rate.

Mrs. Akuettah said the 50 companies were the first batch of “recalcitrant” companies to be prosecuted by the commission in the coming weeks adding that “the commission has resolved to deal with other recalcitrants as stipulated by the laws of the country.”

“The punishment for failing to register with the commission included a fine or imprisonment or both,” she stated and explained that the 50 to face court will be handed down criminal sanctions as contained in the Data Protection Act.

According to Mrs. Akuettah, the commission has so far registered about 500 companies and looked forward to registering more this year.

She therefore urged companies that were not registered to do so immediately before the law caught up with them.

The General Manager of Microsoft Ghana, Mr. Derek Appiah, commended the government for enacting the Data Protection Act which protects the privacy of individuals and personal data through the regulation of personal information.

According to Mr. Derek, technology has become an indispensable part of human life in the 21st century, playing an important role in almost every aspect of human endeavour, from health and education to productivity and communication at a breathtaking speed.

“To achieve sustainable development and consolidate the challenges of information technology in the modern era, strategic decisions have to be made over the next few years concerning the areas of privacy, public safety, legal enforcement, sustainability and education to ensure growth and achieve social mobility for decades to come,” he stressed.

Mr. Appiah said that Microsoft was committed to the country’s digital transformation journey through the development of cloud technology and was working in partnership with relevant public and private stakeholders to create a framework for cloud computing which will be essential for government, citizens, businesses and organisations.

By Charles Amankwa

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