Data Protection Commission launched

BY: Mary Mensah and Erasmus Solomon
Mrs Tekie Akuettey Falkoner conferring with Prof. Justice Date-Bah(right),the Chancellor of the University of Ghana, at the launch of the Data Protection Commission in Accra. With them is Dr Edward Omane Boamah

The government is working towards the establishment of a national data centre infrastructure to serve the public and the private sectors, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, the Minister of Communications, has announced.

The project will comprise a primary data centre in Accra with 500 rack space, estimated to be the largest in West Africa.

Dr Boamah made this known when he launched the Data Protection Commission (DPC) and Data Protection Act 2012 in Accra yesterday.  

He said the project was part of the government’s commitment to bridge the infrastructure gap and facilitate broader participation in the information age.

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The launch, which was on the theme, “Know your Rights, Protect your information”, also saw the launch of a website and registration system for the DPC.

Dr Boamah said there was a secondary data centre located in Kumasi which had been completed and would provide services such as web hosting, cloud infrastructure as a service solution and dedicated servers to all and sundry.

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He said the DPC was set up by the Ministry of Communications as an independent body to regulate and protect individual privacy and personal data.

He said the development of an enabling legal and regulatory environment was imperative in the era of information age when computers, web applications, mobile telephony, softwares, among other facilities, all sought to promote efficient services.

Information technology

He said the relevance and utility of information technology in modern times could not be underestimated but, unfortunately, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was being misused by anti-social elements in aid and in furtherance of their illegal and nefarious activities.

Dr Boamah said in line with that, the ministry had been particularly instrumental in the passage of key legislation to improve competition and transparency in the ICT sector.

Data Protection

He said the act gave meaning to Article 18 (2) of the 1992 Constitution and the underlying notion behind the codification of data protection was the ever growing need to process personal data, as every Ghanaian had the right to the privacy of his or her personal data, irrespective of the medium used.

The minister indicated that the ministry recognised that a thriving information economy was essential for enhancing competitiveness and driving economic growth, for which reason the government was working to make the Internet available to all Ghanaians

The acting Executive Director of the DPC, Mrs Tekie Akuettey Falkoner, said privacy fortified human dignity and guaranteed other key values such as freedom of speech, adding that Article 18(2) guaranteed the right to the privacy of our communication.

She said with advancement in technology, personal information was given out on a daily basis and it was necessary for individuals to protect their personal information, adding that the act would ease personal harassment and damage to professional reputation.