Parliament Summons 3 Ministers

…Over Poor Data Protection in Ghana

In the wake of the increasing cyber crime rate around the globe, Ghana’s Parliament, under the orders of the First Deputy Speaker, has summoned three ministers of state to appear before the House to provide measures the government is taking to protect sensitive state data and those of the citizens.

The three ministers that have the sole responsibility in terms of security of the state, including data, are the Minister of Communications, Minister for the Interior and the National Security Minister.

The trio, per the Parliamentary Summons, will be required to provide a joint brief before the plenary and to assure the nation of safety from cyber and related crime.

First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, issued the directive to the three ministers on the back of a statement from the MP for Juaben, Hon. Ama Pomaa Boateng.

The concerns raised by MP were informed by the laxity of Ghana’s laws on the protection of data after the Data Protection Commission recently indicted some private and state institutions over breaches in data protection.

“Honourable members, in the circumstance, I direct that the Ministers of National Security, Interior and Communications come to brief the House as a committee of the whole to assure members that data collected from us and indeed of national state institutions are well protected,” Hon. Osei-Owusu said Wednesday, this week.

Ama Pomaa Boateng, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications, said parliament must make sure government agencies tasked with data collection strictly adhere to data protection laws.

She said: “Privacy has been largely protected indirectly under scattered provisions under different laws and regulation. Implementing a successful e-government requires a level of trust and assurance from all transacting parties on protection of our information. The Data Protection Commission must tell us where and who has our information in all the e-government activities.”

“Mr. Speaker, what I seek to draw this House’s attention to is to ensure that government agencies responsible for data collection are made to strictly adhere to the principles of data protection in its e-government activities. Our data privacy regulator needs to assure citizens how it is respecting the privacy of our digital information within the data protection laws of Ghana.”

Other members who contributed to the statement said the issue is becoming a threat to national security, citing the hacking into the Electoral Commission (EC) website prior to the announcement of the results of the 2016 general elections, among others, as cases to support the directive.

The MPs were of the view that, data of the state and that of the individual citizen are so susceptible to the elements perpetrating cyber crime due to the duplication of the data collection system in the country.

Some of the MPs, contributing on the floor of parliament, referred the Data Protection Commission to recent citing of some 117 institutions for flouting the data protection regulations.

The commission said, to protect the interest of the public, it will have no choice but to commence the prosecution of the offending institutions and the publication of their names to prevent reckless misapplication, use and abuse of personal data.



Source: Felix Engsalige Nyaaba


The Republic News Online

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