Consumer data protection: Enhancing consent regime crucial – report


The Q4 2023 Ghana Fintech Report has emphasised the need for a robust consent regime, describing it as one of the key factors in protecting consumer data.

Consumer data protection has become a pressing concern in this digitally inclined era, coupled with the exponential growth of data collection and usage by innovators or businesses.

As such, the report put together by legal experts at fintech-focused Sustineri Attorneys PRUC highlighted the crucial role of consent in promoting consumer-centricity and protection in the deployment of innovations – noting that an enhanced consent regime will give consumers control over their personal information, empower and give them the choice to decide how their data is used.

This follows the report’s earlier raised concern for businesses, service providers and innovators to put the consumer first in their entrepreneurial pursuits – consumer-centricity – due to the growing integration of technology into every sphere of life with exposure to inherent risks for breach of personal data, theft and impersonation, among others.

To this end, the report stated that due to the critical role of consent by consumers to their participation in innovation deployments, it has become imperative to enhance onboarding, use and exit processes for consumers as a way to ensure the freedom to join, use and exit or opt out of innovations.

It suggested that to further enhance the consent regime, “Innovators must seek to simplify – in plain language – consent processes that enable the consumer to opt-in and permit the use of their data, experiences and preferences as insights for their continued use of developed innovations and upgrades.

“With limited consumer influence on the development process of new innovations, innovators must ensure greater control is granted to consumers at the deployment phase of their innovations. To achieve this, end-users should always maintain the right to opt in, use and go out of innovations without restrictions through consent.

“Consent expressed in any form is central to practical enforcement of end-users’ rights in this regard. Personal data should not be collected, processed, stored or used without consent of the related person. Equally, participation in innovations should not be encouraged without express permission of the targetted participant.

“Nonetheless, consumer consent needs to be precise and relative. No innovator should be allowed to procure blanket consent from consumers for use of their data beyond the intended purposes. At best, consumers must ensure they are granting consent specifically for the intended use only, as this is the only way to ensure innovators do not abuse collected data for other unilateral use to the end-user’s detriment. As a consumer, your consent is your approval for the use of your data; and you must ensure you understand the scope of the consent being sought by innovators before ticking, clicking and signing-off in approval,” it added.

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