EC sale of voters’ data to a private company is a breach of Data Protection laws in Ghana

Promoting digital rights in Ghana

A special audit carried out by the Auditor-General on the Electoral Commission(EC) has revealed the Commission sold voters’ data to an Accra-based software development company in 2016.

According to the 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 Audit on the EC was part of special audits carried out by the Auditor-General on selected state institutions in 2018.

iWatch Africa’s review of the 2012 Data Protection Act has shown that the EC may have breached the provisions of the law when it sold voters’ data to a private company for gain.

Section 88 and 89 of the 2012 Data Protection Act prohibits the sale of personal data and also prohibits the purchase of personal data or information contained in the personal data of another person.

Although the Executive Director of the Data Protection Commission, Patricia Odusei-Poku told Joy News that the matter will be treated with utmost seriousness and that the commission is set to probe the Electoral Commission (EC) for the sale, iWatch Africa believes that the probe must be swift, transparent and findings published for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

Read Also: iWatch Africa introduces a desk to track and promote Digital Rights in Africa

iWatch Africa is also of the view that any public official found to have breached the data protection laws must be arraigned before the law courts in the country.

The law prescribes that any person who, “sells or offers to sell personal data of another person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than two thousand five hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or to both.”

By Gideon Sarpong iWatch Africa |

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a policy analyst and media practitioner with close to a decade of experience in policy, data and investigative journalism. Gideon is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa. He is an author; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation, Commonwealth Youth Program ,Free Press Unlimited and Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative. Gideon is the Ghana Hub Lead of Sustainable Ocean Alliance. He is a 2020/21 Policy Leader Fellow at the European University Institute, School of Trans-national Governance in Florence, Italy and 2020/21 Open Internet For Democracy Leader. Gideon is also currently a Visiting Scholar/Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK.
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