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EC urged to deploy RFID for next election

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

 Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Communications, who gave the advice at the second Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Information Technology Association of Ghana (ITAG) in Accra, stressed that the move had become necessary if Ghana’s electoral process was to be effectively driven by Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

He tasked IT professionals to make meaningful suggestions and recommendations to the EC to ensure that the electoral and democratic process was improved and further deepened.

Mr Iddrisu suggested that it should be made possible for all the polling stations in the 275 constituencies to be equipped with computers and other ICT tools to reduce cases of multiple registration and voting and other forms of electoral fraud.

He expressed optimism that an image recognition system would assist in giving meaning to the “one man, one vote” policy.

 “We expect that by 2016, the EC must move away from the bar code to the RFID system,” he said.

 RFID is the use of a wireless non-contact system that uses radio frequency electro-magnetic fields to transfer data from a tag attached to an object for the purposes of automatic identification and tracking.

The tag contains electronically stored information which can be read from up to several metres away.

Unlike a bar code, the tag does not need to be within line of sight of the reader and may be embedded in the tracked object. The tag could be read if passed near a reader, even if it is covered by the object or not visible.

It could also be read inside a case, carton, box or other container, hundreds at a time, unlike bar codes that can only be read one at a time using current devices.

Meanwhile, Mr Iddrisu has expressed the government’s commitment to open its frontiers of transparency and accountability in running its day-to-day administration.

He said the administration was also committed to ensuring that the Right to Information Bill was passed into law.

The AGM served as a platform to launch the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) portal with the address www.data.gov.gh.

An open data is an idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and re-published without any licence.

It is aimed at improving transparency and administrative efficiency.

Dr Nii Narku Quaynor, the President of ITAG and Board Chairman of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), said an open data regime offered the opportunity for the citizenry to contribute towards improving governance and policy formulation.

He said people in any given government were in the minority, compared with the citizenry, stressing that meaningful contributions from citizens were critical for national development.

The NITA is a public service institution established by Act 771 in 2008 as the ICT policy implementing arm of the Ministry of Communications.-GNA