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Foster a culture of data privacy, Urges CS Owalo

Data breaches can have serious implications such as identity theft, financial loss and reputational damage, Cabinet Secretary (CS), Eliud Owalo has said.

CS Owalo pointed out that prioritizing data privacy allows organizations to secure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of personal information.

He added that this does not only aid in compliance with rules and regulations but also fosters trust among consumers and stakeholders.

The CS made the remarks at Tom Mboya Labour College, Kisumu this morning when he presided over the commemoration of the Data Privacy Day in the Lakeside city.

Owalo stated that adopting strong data privacy was not only critical for protecting individuals’ rights but also for ensuring a secure and ethical business environment. “This requires a multi-pronged approach that engages various stakeholders and addresses challenges”, added.

He was flanked by the Data Protection Commissioner, Emmaculate Kasait and Media Council of Kenya (MCK) CEO, David Omwoyo and Kenya Representative at GIZ Bodo Immink, Kisumu County Commissioner, Hassan Alason Hassan.

The CS said there was an urgent need to foster a culture of data privacy which is paramount as we navigate the intricate web of data-driven advancement.

As a result of this, he said, we need to uphold the principles that safeguard the personal information of our citizens which has become imperative.

He pointed out that as we commemorate and foster the culture of data privacy in the current digital era, we require a conducive environment within respective organizations and government entities.

“We need to establish a robust data privacy culture in this digital age as this is crucial to ensure trust, privacy, transparency, and individual empowerment”, the CS emphasized.

He recommended that the data protection commissioner should organize programs to reflect the long journey we have traveled as a country while ensuring the actualization of Article 31 of the Constitution.

Owalo revealed that the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has undertaken data protection training in collaboration with Kenya School of Government targeting both the County and National Government staff.

The CS called upon the two levels of Government as well as the private sector to seize the unique opportunity to enhance the compliance of Data Protection Laws.

In addition to this, he called for the integration of data privacy and digital literacy into the schools’ curricula to equip the future generation with the requisite knowledge and awareness from an early age.

“The data commissioner’s office holds a unique position in facilitating government and private sector entities to achieve strategic goals and outline the Government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda and in particular Digital Superhighway Transformation”, he said.

Owalo said that in expanding the digital landscape, robust data protection mechanisms can be overstated pointing out that the office has been mandated to oversee, regulate and ensure lawful data processing which plays a pivotal in the transformative agenda.

The CS said the office of the Data Commissioner stands as a key stakeholder guiding the nation’s journey and the Digital Superhighway while ensuring that technological advancement doesn’t compromise the lives of individuals.

Quoting a section of the report that followed the Presidential Directive; out of a total of 3739 data controllers and processors so far trained only 150 of them already registered are from Government Ministries, Agencies, and other State Departments.

The CS who launched the ODPC Regional Offices in Kisumu after similar ones were opened in Nakuru and Mombasa said this marked a significant step towards the protection of data across the country.

He also launched the ChatBot which will play a crucial role in enhancing user experience and accessibility of data information. The CS appealed to stakeholders to use the data privacy day as a catalyst for change.

“As we embrace the opportunities presented with the digital age let us do so with a steadfast determination to protect the Rights and Privacy of our citizens”, he said.

By Jesca Achieng and Quinter Atieno

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