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Data Protection staff to be deployed in counties

Residents of Isiolo who are not conversant with technology have been assured that they will still access services from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) as the office has plans to deploy staff in all counties.

Most of the services offered by ODPC currently are online. They include registration of data controllers and data processors and response to disputes filed by persons whose right to privacy has been violated through unlawful use of their personal data.

ODPC Communications Officer Ms. Carolyne Tanui who represented Data Commissioner Ms. Immaculate Kassait during an awareness forum in Isiolo County that was organized for data controllers and data processors assured residents that ODPC would in the future have officers stationed at Huduma Centres across the country.

“These officers will assist persons who are not comfortable with technology”, Ms. Tanui said. In the short term, ODPC plans to open offices in Mombasa, Kisumu, and Nakuru cities.

Isiolo Deputy County Commissioner Mr. Kepha Marube who opened the forum officially said that National and devolved staff in the county worked in close collaboration and assured ODPC that this teamwork would prevail as the two levels of governance strived to ensure that personal data collected from the public was safeguarded.

Mr. Marube warned data handlers who will either store such information carelessly and those who released it to others unlawfully that they would face the full force of law.

ODPC is conducting awareness in all counties to sensitize those handling personal data on its mandate and the Data Protection Act of 2019 provisions.

The data handlers, legally referred to as Data Controllers and Data Processors have been asked to comply with the Act. Compliance entails registration with ODPC, adherence to principles governing the handling of personal data, and undertaking a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) to identify possible data breaches and come up with appropriate mitigating measures.

A Compliance Officer Mr. Alikher Samow informed the data handlers that they had a responsibility to report incidents of data breach to ODPC within 72 hours of the occurrence.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner was established in 2022 to implement the Data Protection Act of 2019. Its mandate includes awareness creation on the Act, registration of data controllers and data processors and dispute resolution using Alternative Dispute Resolution.

However, if Alternative dispute resolution fails, aggrieved parties are encouraged to seek redress in court.

By Jane Gicharu

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