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Kenyans advised to embrace data protection for safety

Institutions collecting personal data from individuals will be accountable for the information they collect for purposes of safeguarding personal information and confidentiality.

The Data Protection Commissioner, Immaculate Kassait, said both public and private entities must adhere to the Data Protection Act, as anchored in the Constitution to avoid complaints on infringement on personal rights.

Government Spokesperson, Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna (left) in his program ”SemaNaSpox” where he hosted Office of Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC), Immaculate Kassait, who highlighted the importance of Data Protection in Kenya on Monday 21st February 2022 at Media Centre, Telposta Towers, Nairobi. Photo by Widen Ratemo

“Personal Information taken by institutions should be confidential and kept in a place where no one can access it to avoid incidences of theft of the information for fraud, misuse and discrimination,” said Kassait.

She at the same time cautioned Kenyans against sharing a lot of personal information, as some are collected illegally and may end up injuring their personality, saying that her office will continue to create awareness on data protection, to enable Kenyans embrace the culture of data protection.

Speaking virtually at SemaNaSpox programme on Data Protection at the Media Centre, Telposta Towers, Nairobi, Monday, Kassait said the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs has put in place a framework and regulation that requires institutions using people’s information to identify themselves and to utilise it according to the Data Protection Act.

She said all political parties and private companies should embrace the culture of compliance and adherence when engaging with personal information to avoid complaints, warning that misuse of information is a crime.

“Companies marketing their products and political parties need to have a box where clients can opt-in and opt-out of the process in cases of unsolicited messages,” she said, adding that those who violate the Data Protection Act and fail to rectify the information within 30 days face penalty.

Kassait said three Data Protection Regulations have been submitted to National Assembly for approval.

She said the approval of the Act will make those storing data to work in an ethical manner as well as propel the country’s blue economic print that will make Kenya a better place to live in, create investment and development, as well as regulate the space to make information safer.

In his remarks the Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said as the country heads to the national elections, the government has put in place measures to ensure that personal information in its custody is only used for the intended purpose and urged all institutions to protect data in their custody.

Oguna said the government is using the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO), to educate members of the public on how to share their personal data, among them pin numbers, to avoid giving unnecessary information that is unsolicited for.

“Entities collecting information should take responsibility in terms of protecting personal data and when sharing they must seek consent from owners of the information. People have been receiving a lot of information without consultation,” he stressed.

He assured Kenyans that Huduma Namba cards will not be used in the forthcoming elections for registration and voting, as its purpose is for governance and to help Kenyans identify themselves using one source.

Oguna clarified that the Huduma Namba card is not operational at the moment and that members of the public will be notified by the government when its operationalization will commence.

He announced that to date, the government has printed a total of 11 million Huduma Namba cards of which nine million have been collected, noting that a balance of 6 million are yet to be printed.

“We have a total of Two (2) million cards uncollected at Huduma offices and those who have not collected their cards should access https://confirmation.hudumanamba.go.ke portal to confirm the status of their cards and https://hudumanamba.go.ke,” announced the government Spokesperson.

He at the same time announced that the government has plans of rolling out the Phase II Huduma card registration exercise to enable those who had not registered during Phase I to do so, adding that the exercise will be continuous.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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