Madam Patricia Adusei-Poku, Executive Director, Data Protection Commission (DPC), says the Commission will scale up its operations to all the 16 regions of the country.
That, she said, would enable the Commission to bring its services closer to Ghanaians.
The Commission is an independent statutory body established under the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) to protect the privacy of individual and personal data by regulating the processing of personal information.
“We intend to increase the number of professionally trained Private Practitioners in our ecosystem,” Madam Adusei-Poku stated at the launch of the Annual Global Data Protection Week Celebration in Accra on the theme “Transparency, Trust and Transformation in a Digital Ghana.”
She said the DPC intended to accredit additional training institutions to assist with the training of professionals.
“Our accreditation process is to ensure that the quality and standard of training is maintained nationwide,” the Executive Director said.
Madam Adusei-Poku said considering the impact of COVID-19, the government had granted an amnesty for six months from 1st October 2020 to 31st March 2021 to allow defaulting Data Controllers to register with the Commission and pay just the current year’s amount; waving any applicable arrears.
“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 31st March 2021,” she said.
Madam Adusei-Poku said the DPC was engaging some critical stakeholders in a collaborative effort to step up public education on the need to protect personal data and monitor the compliance status of data controllers.
The institutions include; the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department, and the Electoral Commission (EC).
She said discussions were going on between the Commission and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department for the creation of a Fast-Track High Court that would handle cases involving institutions which went contrary to the data protection rules in the country.
She said the Commission’s main focus had been sensitising the public on the “3Ts” objective of transparency, trust and transformation to promote the rights of individuals as well as educate the public and private sector on the importance of data protection.
The Data Privacy Day, also known as the Data Protection Day, is a global event celebrated on 28th January every year to raise awareness among data subjects and businesses about the importance of protecting privacy as a fundamental human right.
A major objective of Data Protection Day is to inform and educate the public of their rights and also provide professionals with the opportunity of meeting data subjects.
Dr Patrick Lebene Adonoo, the Director of Regulatory and Compliance, DPC, who gave an overview of the Data Protection Week Celebration, noted that within the week, the Commission would sensitise Ghanaians on the importance of protecting their data.
He said from the 19th – 22th January, the Commission would be having engagements at the regional levels in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.
Dr Adonoo said on the 25th of January, the Commission would hold various students’ engagements at senior high school levels.
He said a float along the principal streets of Accra on the 26th of January had been planned as part of efforts to sensitise Ghanaians on the importance of data protection, but it was under review due to the upsurge in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Adonoo said engagement of celebrities on data protection would be on 27th January, with a town hall meeting in Accra, climaxing the celebration on January 28th.