Data regulator launches training ahead of August 9 General Election

Immaculate Kassait

Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait (right) and Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Maureen Mbaka during the launch of inaugural Strategic Plan 2021-2024 at the Kenya School of Government on January 28, 2022. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

The government has unveiled a new data protection curriculum and a strategic plan to equip Kenyans with skills on data privacy seven months to the August 9 General Election.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner which launched a five- day training programme set to begin on January 31, 2022 at the Kenya School of Government said the efforts are geared towards enlightening Kenyans on data protection laws in an electioneering period where data rights violation is rife.

“This programme is a result of intense research on data protection in the country. We will enable the participants to have an understanding of data and how to ensure its compliance across the different sectors,” said Data Protection Commissioner Immaculate Kassait.

Over the past one month, politicians have been begging voters to elect them in the upcoming polls through mobile SMS messaging without their consent, a massive breach of the Data Protection Act which came to force in November 2019.

So far, Ms Kassait revealed, her office has received 442 data privacy complaint cases and resolved 298 cases.

Private data

As concerns rise on the availability of the appropriate infrastructure to ensure the safeguarding of private data, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of ICT, Youth and Innovation Maureen Mbaka said the government will rely on the Konza National Data Center to secure data in the cloud.

With political campaigns intensifying every day, Ms Kassait urged Kenyans who have complaint cases on the misuse of their data to follow the due process for the commencement of investigations.

“Even as we resolve the cases, we urge people to come out and report on our online portal,” she said.

She asked Kenyans who have been listed as political party members without their consent to report to the Registrar of Political Parties.

Digital lenders

She also promised to work with the digital lenders and other stakeholders in the industry to improve on compliance to the data protection laws.

“We believe we will move in the right direction. So far we are having a consultative meeting with some of the digital lenders so that we can ensure compliance.”

Some of the data processors and controllers whose activities fall under the commission include the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, National Registration Bureau , Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, National Hospital Insurance Fund, National Social Security Fund, banks, hospitals and telcos.

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