The Data Protection Commission (DPC), has revealed that only 2,000 out of 6,000 private and public businesses have registered with their entity. This translates to over 65% of businesses in the country that is not data protection compliant.
The Data Protection Commission is an “independent statutory body established under the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843), to protect the privacy of the individual and personal data by regulating the processing of personal information”.
Speaking at the launch of the new Data Protection Registration and Compliance Software, the Executive Director of DPC, Patricia Adusei-Poku said’
“we have a lot of work to do, and with the media’s support. Through challenging businesses of their status of compliance and how they collect and process data. More and more institutions will be registering with the commission so that we can have a list of them to engage with and support, to implement privacy programme. We hope that this time next year we will move closer to the 6,000.”
“The Commission would engage with NITA, GIFEC, and the Cyber Security Secretariat and other critical stakeholders in a collaborative effort to step up public education on the need to protect personal data, how to do so, and monitor the compliance status of Data Controllers,” she further said.
According to Patricia Adusei-Poku, the new Data Protection Registration and Compliance Software has enhanced features that include: user’s ability to upload photos, documents, and videos, update records, among others.
The Minister for Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful well within her rights, has offered a six-month grace period beginning 1st October 2020 to 31 March 2021 to defaulting data controllers to register with the commission, given the impact of the coronavirus on business entities. She made it known that, during the grace period, any outstanding arrears will be waived off and only the current year’s amount should be paid.
Why data protection is important
Living in the bubble of the digital space, businesses rely on data storage and usage to increase profit margins and business efficiency. Companies have stored data of their customers/consumers, product information, and processes as well as financial transactions. Not complying with state-of-the-art data protection trends and security will cause such information to be wielded in the wrong hands. This will have the inevitable impact of tarnishing the integrity of such companies and enriching the lives of the cyber attackers.
In 2019, The National Cyber Security Adviser, Dr. Albert Antwi-Bosiako revealed that Ghana had already lost some US$77million to cybersecurity crime. In 2018, Ghana lost US$105million to cyberattack.
“Cyber-attacks promise to escalate in the years to come, especially with the increase in Internet penetration and the massive reliance on ICT devices – such as the use of mobile phones for transactions and interaction by citizens. Mobile phones have facilitated easy access to social networks and business transactions,” Dr. Albert Antwi-Bosiako said a year ago.
At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there was an upsurge in cybercrime. Institutions around the globe recorded an increase in data breaches and losses. The World Health Organization in April of this year for instance recounted how some 450 active WHO email addresses and passwords were leaked online.
Data protection and safety now more than ever, is, therefore, a must to protect the interest of customers, avoid unnecessary expenditure, and ensure the longevity of your business reputation.