Unregistered data controllers to be sanctioned-DPC

Data controllers who fail to register with the commission will be sanctioned, the Executive Director of the Data Protection Commission (DPC), Mrs Patricia Adusei-Poku has warned.

She indicated that out of the numerous data controllers in the country, less than 5,000 had registered and acquired the right certification, while the majority of them failed to fulfil that requirement under the Data Protection Act of 2012.

“We will make our best effort and chase up as many as we can to prosecute those we can prosecute but I think it’s a big collaborative effort of all able citizens that will change the statistics and increase the number for us in a shortest possible time,” she added.

Ms Adusei-Poku gave the indication at a press briefing yesterday, as part of activities to commemorate the Global Data Protection Week.

She said the Ministry of Communications had granted amnesty of six months to allow data controllers in Ghana to register with the Data Protection Commission (DPC).

The amnesty she said started from October 1, 2020 and was expected to end on March 31, 2021.

She urged all defaulting data controllers to ensure they register with the commission and pay any arrears due them.

“We entreat all defaulting institutions to take advantage of the amnesty period to be in good standing with the commission. All entities which fail to regularise their operations with the commission during this amnesty period will face the full brunt of the law after March 31, 2021,” she added.

The Director of Regulatory and Compliance of DPC, Dr Patrick Lebene Adonoo who announced the activities earmarked for the commemoration of the event said, the week would start from January 19 to 28, 2021 which comes along with national activities scheduled throughout the week.

He said the event formed part of efforts to create awareness to sanitise the public about data protection and privacy.

The theme for event is “Transparency, Trust and Transformation in a Digitised Ghana.”

Activities lined up for the celebration of the Data Protection Week include regional engagements with students and celebrities, a townhall meeting and a float which is under review due to the increase number of cases in the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

Dr Lebene Adonoo said among the activities, DPC would engage some critical stakeholders in a collaborative effort to step up public education on the need to protect personal data, monitor the compliance status of data controllers.

The institutions he said included Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Controller and Accountant Generals Department, Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Department, Electoral Commission as well as various civil servants’ groups at the national level.

He said the commission also intended to accredit additional training of institutions to assist with training of professionals in data protection.

“We’re glad to inform you that the DPC and the internal audit agency have signed MoU in a collaborative effort to train all internal auditors nationwide to expand the scope of the audit to include the requirements of Act 843.”

BY VIVIAN ARTHUR

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