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General News of Monday, 23 November 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Call EC to order for breaching voters’ privacy - STRANEK to Data Protection Agency

EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa

Policy think tank, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK) has asked the Data Protection Agency to call the Electoral Commission to order following the publication of private data of Ghanaian electorates.

According to STRANEK, the EC’s decision to publish personal information of voters ahead of the polls flouts sections 17 and 18 of the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843).

In a statement released by STRANEK, November 23, they wondered why the EC mishandled personal details of voters in such a crucial moment in the country’s history.

“Could the Electoral Commission not have created a link to a database that allows Ghanaians to check their voter’s identity number rather than dumping all the data of voters on Google drive?” the statement read in part.

The statement which was signed by the Executive Director, Nii Tettey Tetteh, further accused the Jean Mensa-led EC of downplaying their role of protecting details of Ghanaian voters.

“Lack of supervision has exposed the Electoral Commission so far as data protection is concerned. Elections in the 4th Republic of Ghana have been conducted since 1992 and there should be little room for incompetence…,” the statement further noted.

Read below a copy of the full statement;

BRING EC TO ORDER-STRANEK-Africa calls on Data Protection Commission

There has been calls by various stakeholders in Ghana for the Electoral Commission to make public, the list of registered voters for the December 7, 2020 elections including the thirty-two thousand, six hundred and twenty-one (32,621) names expunged from the new register of voters because of an alleged violation of the electoral laws.

Few days ago, the Electoral Commission uploaded the data of voters on Google drive, to wit the full name, age and identity number. Could the Electoral Commission not have created a link to a database that allows Ghanaians to check their voter’s identity number rather than dumping all the data of voters on Google drive?

In the era of fraudsters and rogues, one may have thought that the data of Ghanaians would have been held in high esteem and the CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability) triangle so far as Cybersecurity Management is concerned would have been applied religiously.

Unfortunately, the most important component in cybersecurity seems not to exist in the office of the Electoral Commission. Does this not breach confidentiality as Ghanaians are naked with open display of their data?

Sections 17 and 18 of the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) talks about the privacy of the individual and the processing of personal data respectively. Section 17 explains the principles that must be abided by i.e. data security safeguards, lawfulness of processing et cetera.

Section 18(1) elaborates how processing of personal data must be processed without infringing the privacy rights of the data subject and how it must be done in a reasonable manner as well as lawful manner. Could it be said that the Electoral Commission has breached the privacy laws of Ghana?

Lack of supervision has exposed the Electoral Commission so far as data protection is concerned. Elections in the 4th Republic of Ghana have been conducted since 1992 and there should be little room for incompetence.

STRANEK-Africa therefore calls on the Data Protection Commission to bring the EC to order over gross privacy violations.

We are all involved in building our nation.

Signed.

Nii Tettey Tetteh

Executive Director

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