Data Controllers Granted Six Months Amnesty

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has announced a six-month reprieve to data controllers who have not registered with the Data Protection Commission (DPC) to regularize their operations.

The grace period, according to her, begins from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 after which offenders will be made to face the full brunt of the law.

“Considering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on business and in accordance with the regulations of Section 94 of Act 843, empowering the minister to extend the transitional period for data controllers, I have directed the commission to grant an amnesty for six months to allow defaulting data controllers to register with the commission and pay just the current year’s amount due, waiving any applicable arrears,” she said.

She was speaking at the launch of the new improved data registry and compliance software by the DPC.

The new registry is to enhance data collection in the country and address the increasing number of non-compliant with the data protection acts which seeks to bring all data processing companies under a law.

She disclosed that Ghana was currently one of the few countries to pass the Data Protection Law and establish a supervisory authority in Africa.

She said the country was also among the first three countries to ratify the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, the Malabo Convention.

“To this end, Ghana will be leading the continent in a quest to harmonize data of businesses operating within the continental free trade market,” she said.

Executive Director of the DPC, Patricia Adusei-Poku, expressed worry that many companies had not registered with the commission despite several engagements.

She said out of the over 60,000 data collection businesses registered at the Register General, only about 20,000 had been certified and licenced as data collection institutions.

She was therefore hopeful that with the new registry and amnesty, data controllers would go through the registration process to get their certificates.

 

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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