The Commissioner of the Data Protection Commission (DPC), Patricia Adusei-Poku, has urged institutions to be compliant with data protection laws.
She said the law, Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843), requires companies to register with the Commission to work on their compliance programmes to avoid prosecution.
“If you are a business that wants to excel or if you are in the public sector, there is an expectation of you to know what the law requires of you under data protection,” she noted.
She spoke during the climax of the 2023 Data Protection and Privacy week celebrations in Accra and added that issues of data protection are fast becoming an important aspect of business operations across the world. Globally, every January 28 is observed as Data Protection and Privacy Day.
For instance, Madam Adusei-Poku said that when she took office in 2017, about 10 countries in Africa had data protection laws however, as of 2023 this number had risen to 30.
The Commission has since its inception championed protection of personal data – how it is collected and used. The Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) also specifies sanctions for companies that flout its provisions.
The DPC also disclosed that it would soon arraign about 300 institutions that had failed to safeguard the data of individuals as stipulated by law.
“We will be enforcing the law by publishing the names of non-compliant institutions and we have gone to the Chief Justice to get a Fastrack Court so that there will not be delays in pushing data breach cases through the court and the Chief Justice asked for justification which has been done and now the Attorney General has given us a dedicated prosecutor who is working with the Commission to compile the cases,” she said.
For her part, Ama Pomaa Boateng, deputy Minister of Communications said the government since 2017, has been implementing its digital agenda to ensure that Ghana fully participates in the 4th industrial revolution and that its citizens benefit from the opportunities that it presents
She noted that Ghana’s digitalisation initiatives have so far generated huge data that need to be protected, hence the government’s decision to empower the Commission to be at the heart of its transformational agenda.
“We would like to maximise the use of data by unlocking its potential, promote data sharing, analytics, and reuse for the general public good,” Madam Boateng noted.
She commended the Commission for complimenting government’s efforts by systematically increasing national awareness on protecting personal data through the development of appropriate organisational structures and procedures for data controllers.
The climax event was attended by high level executives of various institutions including the Cyber Security Authority, the National Information Technology Agency, the Association of Ghana Industries, the State Interests and Governance Authority, and the Ghana Statistical Services.