EC needed approval to sell voters’ info – Data Protection Commission

Executive Director of the Ghana Data Protection Commission, Patricia Adusei-Poku, has said the Electoral Commission (EC) needed to have sought approval from the electorate before selling electoral data to a third party. She said that although the EC is a legitimate data controller, in striking the controversial deal with a software development company, Bysystems Ghana Limited, the purpose and nature of the deal should have been made known to the public. “These are bits of information that should be documented and made available, if possible in advance, to the data subjects, which is you and I. The electorate of Ghana should have been given that transparency in order to be able to either object or [agree],” she said. Patricia Adusei-Poku made the comments on PM Express, a current affairs programme on JoyNews TV, on the back of revelations by the Auditor-General that the EC sold voters’ data to the Accra-based software development company. The audit report also revealed that there was no agreement between the EC and Bysystem Limited on the sale of voters’ information. Patricia Adusei-Poku said an investigation has been launched into the matter. She said although the details outlined in the special audit point to a breach, there is a need look at it dispassionately and objectively. According to the audit report, the software development company, Bysystem Ltd, bought the data from the EC and further sold them to financial service providers for a fee. The Special Audit on the EC was part of special audits carried out by the Auditor-General on selected state institutions in 2018. “There is one clear purpose for the electoral register and that is to allow us to vote, beyond that the concern of the electorate must be sought,” Patricia Adusei-Poku. The audit report also revealed that there was no agreement between the EC and Bysystem Limited on the sale of voters’ information. Patricia Adusei-Poku said an investigation has been launched into the matter. She said although the details outlined in the special audit point to a breach, there is a need look at it dispassionately and objectively. “There is one clear purpose for the electoral register and that is to allow us to vote, beyond that the concern of the electorate must be sought,” Patricia Adusei-Poku. Selective EC Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Dr Kojo Asante, said it is surprising that the EC has agreed to sell electoral data to a private firm. He recalls that, when his outfit approached the Commission for data that will facilitate research, the EC was been less cooperative and insisted on providing only certain types of data. “When you hear that the Electoral Commission is that comfortable to pass on the information, not even for purposes of an election but to a private company in a format that the private company can use in whatever reason, is quite worrying,” he said.

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Ms Patricia Adusei Poku
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