Accra, Nov.1, GNA - Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communication on Thursday inaugurated an 11-member Governing Board of the Data Protection Commission (DPC) to be chaired by Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, a Justice of the Supreme Court.
The Board is expected to provide direction to the DPC, an institution which seeks to protect the privacy of individual and personal data from misuse.
The DPC was established by the Data Protection Act, (Act 843) of 2012.
The Commission would regulate the processing of personal information as well as provide the administrative mechanisms for obtaining, holding, using or disclosing such information and other related issues.
Mr Iddrisu, who inaugurated the Board, also led the members to swear the Oath of Office and the Secrecy Oaths.
He commended the members for accepting to serve the nation and expressed the hope that the DPC would engage stakeholders for its smooth functioning in order to enhance public confidence in its operations without apprehension.
He urged the Commission to ensure that all institutions and persons adhere to the tenets of the law to boost investor confidence and streamline activities of industries, government and academia in the handling and use of personal data.
Mr Iddrisu emphasised the importance of protecting data generated, considering the rapid advancement of technology, the changing paradigm of Information and Communication Technology in the era of information society.
The Communication Minister acknowledged the need for the construction of extensive data networks to facilitate the development of knowledge-based economy.
He explained that currently personal data are provided to institutions without any clear indication as to what they would be used for and whether it is secured.
He said: “Whenever you open a bank account, join a social networking website or book a flight online, you hand over vital personal information such as name, address and credit card number to an institution or service provider without knowing what it would be used for.
“But with the coming into force of the law; employers, service providers, banks and all who process individual or personal data would be expected to inform prospective applicants and customers of what their data would be used for and how it would be secured.”
To achieve its objective, the Commission shall therefore implement and monitor compliance with the provisions of Act 843, make appropriate administrative arrangements for the discharge of its duties, investigate any compliant under the Act and determine it in the manner the Commission consider fair and keep and maintain the Data Protection Register.
The Act would strengthen individual rights and tackle the challenges of globalisation and new technologies.
Mr Iddrisu stressed that it is imperative for the nation to design a comprehensive public education and awareness campaign to enable all to know the rights and responsibilities associated with the processing of data.
He said this effort would propel the presence and visibility of the Commission to give credence to the law.
Justice Date-Bah, on behalf of the Board, pledged the commitment of the members to the office and to work hard to attain and sustain the objectives of the Commission and ensure the adherence of the Act 843.