Enforce Data Bill to Protect Citizens – ICE Urges Gov’t
The Institute of Chartered Economists of Ghana has called on government to enforce the Data Protection Bill, Act 2012, (Act 8430, which is aimed at establishing a Data Protection Commission, to protect the privacy of the individual and personal data of Ghanaians.
According to the Institute, the bill, when enforced, will ensure that there is no possible invasion when citizens give out information to the National Identification Authority.
Addressing the media yesterday, Dr. Ebenezer Ashley, a Council Member of the Institute said they support government on the implementation of the national identification card stating it is in the right direction and could provide a lot of socio-economic benefits to the country.
“The National Identification system will ensure improvement in the dispatch of relief items by NADMO to flood-related victims. It will also ensure efficient allocation and utilization of the nation’s limited natural, financial and human capital resources”, he said.
He stressed that the cards will enable voters exercise their voting franchise with relative ease and also provide data to the Electoral Commission for direct registration and voting purposes.
The Institute noted that even though the NIA is likely to encounter by a number of challenges such as security breaches by some staff members and internet hackers, the benefits to be derived far outweigh the problems.
“One major challenge the NIA is likely to face is the abuse of power by government functionaries. Unfettered access to citizens’ information may allow some political officials to exact vengeance on other citizens or subject some innocent citizens to constant harassment, sabotage or victimization.”
Dr. Ashley outlined some recommendations that can be of immense benefit to the national identification authority.
He said the staff of NIA should be adequately resourced in terms of training and equipment to facilitate harmonization and integration of all public data into one ‘warehouse’.
“The present national identification system must effectively capture basic contact information such as electronic mail addresses and telephone numbers of registrants to facilitate their contact in future, should the need arise”, he said.
He stressed that the absence of basic information in the previous identification system started by the Kufuor led-government did not auger well foe the effective distribution of completed cards to their rightful owners.
Source: Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum/ The Publisher Newspaper