The executive director of the Data Protection Commission (DPC), Mrs Teki Akuettah, has said the commission will impose sanctions on data controllers who fail to register with the commission. She indicated that out of the numerous data controllers in the country, only 500 had registered and acquired the right certification, while the majority of them failed to fulfil that requirement under the Data Protection Act of 2012. “Failure to register attracts either a fine or a prison term of two years. Currently, we are working with the police to make sure those who fail to register with the commission are sanctioned accordingly,” she added. Mrs Akuettah gave the indication at a public forum held to discuss innovative ways by which the country could ensure a safe data protection and privacy regime in Accra yesterday. The forum The forum, dubbed: “Ghana’s digital transformation journey”, was under the auspices of Microsoft, in collaboration with the DPC, to commemorate World Privacy Day, which fell on January 28. It brought together stakeholders from the public and the private sectors. Discussions at the forum were focused on how the boom in technology could be harnessed properly to propel economic growth and national development. Sanctions Mrs Akuettah observed that given the critical role technology played in the development of national economies and the fact that some criminal elements were taking advantage of loopholes to invade the personal data of people, it was important for a robust privacy regime to be adhered to in order to guarantee the safety of the public. “To ensure the safety of all people, we are currently working with the police to prosecute the first batch of defaulters. The police initially wrote to some 50 companies who failed to adhere to the regulations, but they have still not responded appropriately. So in the next couple of weeks, we will be taking legal action against them,” she said. Guidelines She added that the collaboration the DPC had with Microsoft was to ensure that data controllers were held responsible for any compromises on the personal data of clients who used the cloud provided by Microsoft. Mrs Akuettah observed that in order to avert tampering with personal data of clients through non-adherence by data controllers, the DPC and Microsoft would jointly come up with guidelines for cloud computing and a cloud computing policy by April this year. “What we seek to achieve is to ensure that data controllers will not just go and hide their information under the cloud provided by Microsoft. They ought to ensure that adequate security is provided to protect information,” she said. Technology key For his part, the General Manager of Microsoft Ghana, Mr Derek Appiah, observed that technology had become the driving force for all human endeavours and that it was important to make the best use of that resource for accelerated development. He said there was the need for strategic decisions to be made on how to guarantee the privacy of data and public safety, adding that it took a strong legal environment to leverage the gains. Mr Appiah gave an assurance that Microsoft would work with both the public and the private sectors to design a road map that would enhance privacy of the public and protect the rights of people.
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