The Ghana Data Protection Commission has urged Data Collectors to ensure that they publish data on subjects on legitimate grounds.
This comes on the back claims of alleged data privacy breaches by the Electoral Commission (EC) after it published the voters’ register on Google Drive.
The Executive Director of the Ghana Data Protection Commission, Patricia Adusei-Poku, in a Citi News interview, said it was unethical on the part of the EC to publish the data without seeking the consent of voters.
“Various sections of our laws in the Data Protection Act talk about different responsibilities that data controllers have. Gone are the days when institutions own the data they collect, now data subjects are empowered to participate in decision-making around the data that is collected from them. Ghanaians have challenged the status quo. The public has asked that data should be publicised on legitimate grounds.”
She further charged Data Collectors to be transparent with data subjects.
“Beyond the legitimate grounds, we want fairness and transparency, which is achieved by the collector of the data explaining the purpose for data collection before it is done, who will have access to the data, how you will transmit the data, how long it will be out there among others. That will give a holistic understanding of what you are doing with the data. That is the definition of transparency. That is also fair because you give the subjects the opportunity to object or otherwise.”
EC defends decision to make voters register public
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, has justified the decision to make the electoral roll public.
She insists that the Commission’s actions are backed by law.
“Our systems are very secure and for the register that was put out, we are enjoined by law to publish the voters’ register,” Mrs. Mensa said at a training workshop for journalists on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.
“C.I. 127 requires that the provisional voter register is published on our website. That same law states that the final register is published in a manner for which the Commission deems fit.”
Mrs. Mensa also said the publishing of the register was to ensure “transparency and openness.”
The Commission published the roll on its website via Google Drive prompting concerns over privacy and data security.
The list published contained the names, voter identification numbers, ages, and genders of persons registered to vote.
The list of voters was eventually pulled down but only temporarily, according to Mrs. Mensa.