Data Protection Board of Trustees Inaugurated

Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu- Ekuful today, 4th October 2021 inaugurated a board of trustees for the Data Protection Commission (DPC) with a call on members to ensure that privacy of the individual and personal data is protected.
 
According to the Minister, the Governments Digitalisation Agenda has increased the use of digital services and online transactions by Ghanaians, adding that the use of these digital platforms exposes everyone to the risk of phishing, scam, identity theft and the exploitation of our personal data for commercial gains.
 
She explained that the Data Protection Commission is established as a body to regulate the processing of personal information, to provide the process to obtain, hold, use, or disclose personal information and for related matters as mandated by the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843).
 
The board is made up of Mrs Justice Helena-Inkumsah Abban (RTD) as Chair with Mad. Patricia Adusei-Poku; Mr Joseph Whittal; Hon. Ama Pomaa Boateng; Mr. Richard Edmund Okyere-Fosu; Mrs Elsie Addo Awadzi; Mr Johnson Kagya Owusu; Mr. Michael Komla Kumah Nfodwo; Mad Eccles Andoh and Hon. John k. Abbam Aboah Sanie as members.
 
She indicated that to promote and encourage a climate of Data Protection Compliance across the country, the Commission is providing a range of support services such as capacity building programs to Data Controllers.
 
These she said include Certified Data Protection Practitioner Training, conducting Basic Awareness sessions, conducting bespoke training, providing support for registering and online ‘How To’ Guides.
 
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful indicated that the Commission is also collaborating with peer Regulators and other stakeholder institutions to include Data Protection as an eligibility criterion. The Commission also successfully launched the upgraded Data Controller registration software replacing the previous pro-bono system which was no longer fit for purpose. The upgraded system has automated the registration system and improved the user experience of data controllers. The new registration system has enabled the arrears module.
 
The arrears module is backed by Section 97(1) and 97(2) of the Data Protection Act 2012, (Act 843). I must at this point thank the members of the previous governing board for their contributions to the work of the commission that has improved its visibility. We are not there yet, especially with data protection being a novel area. But I believe that if we keep the momentum, we will make a lot of progress and create an environment where there is the needed confidence in the system and everyone is assured of the safety of their personal data.
 
She revealed that the Commission has been weaned off Government subvention and therefore relies on its Internally Generated Funds (IGF) for its operations.
 
“As part of the efforts to put the Commission on a sound financial footing, the Commission has instituted some revenue generating activities, and fortunately in December, 2019 Parliament approved the Commission’s fees and charges” she said.
 
According to the Minister, “I am aware staff retention has become a major issue at the Commission. Several roles in the organizational structure are awaiting regularization by the
 
Public Services Commission and Fair Wages Commission. I am also informed that in the past eight months, the Commission has lost six Officers trained in Data Protection due to the failure to regularize their appointments to give them a more permanent status”.
 
She challenged the board to devise strategies to help generate the needed funding for the running of the Commission.
 
“An area that can be looked at to generate revenue is in the registration of Data Controllers. Awareness creation must therefore be intensified; ensure that the appropriate measures are put in place to recruit and retain the right caliber of staff to support the work of the institution; ensure that a more permanent office accommodation is secured for the Commission and the necessary logistics provided for the work of the Commission” she added.
 
The board Chair, Mrs Justice Helena-Inkumsah Abban (RTD) on behalf of members promised to work hard to ensure that their expectations are met.
 
She also expressed gratitude to the President for their appointment.