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We did nothing wrong by publishing full voters’ register on website - EC

By Mutala Yakubu
Jean Mensa
Jean Mensa
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The Electoral Commission (EC) says they did no wrong in any way by publishing full details of persons captured in the electoral roll on their website.

The EC has come under some criticisms after a widely shared Google Drive link containing a list of Ghanaians eligible to exercise their franchise in the December poll.

The details included voters’ names, ages, polling centres as well as ID numbers.

A section of the public also raised concerns about data protection that may potentially arise because all information was published on the EC's website.

READ ALSO: Claims by Security Expert over Special Voting baseless and unfounded - EC

EC Chairperson Jean Mensa commenting on the issue at a media training for journalists on electoral reporting in Accra on November 24, 2020, said the Commission breached no law because they are mandated by law to publicly put out the details of registered voters.

Jean Mensa said that “C.I. 127 requires that the provisional voters' register is published on our website.”

“That same law states that the final register is published in a manner that the Commission deems fit."

She claims that this move by the EC will also ensure transparency in the electoral process but was quick to add that the list has been temporarily pulled down to allow for an upgrade with more enhanced functionalities before subsequently reloading it “in the coming days.”

Meanwhile, Policy think tank, Strategic Thinkers Network-Africa, STRANEK-Africa have called on the Data Protection Commission to bring the Electoral Commission to order.

STRANEK are accusing the EC of not properly handling data concerning the Voters register.

Below is the STRANEK release

BRING EC TO ORDER-STRANEK-Africa calls on Data Protection Commission

There has been calls by various stakeholders in Ghana for the Electoral Commission to make public, the list of registered voters for the December 7, 2020 elections including the thirty-two thousand, six hundred and twenty-one (32,621) names expunged from the new register of voters because of an alleged violation of the electoral laws. Few days ago, the Electoral Commission uploaded the data of voters on Google drive, to wit the full name, age and identity number. Could the Electoral Commission not have created a link to a database that allows Ghanaians to check their voter’s identity number rather than dumping all the data of voters on Google drive?

In the era of fraudsters and rogues, one may have thought that the data of Ghanaians would have been held in high esteem and the CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability) triangle so far as Cybersecurity Management is concerned would have been applied religiously. Unfortunately, the most important component in cybersecurity seems not to exist in the office of the Electoral Commission. Does this not breach confidentiality as Ghanaians are naked with open display of their data?

Sections 17 and 18 of the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843) talks about the privacy of the individual and the processing of personal data respectively. Section 17 explains the principles that must be abided by i.e. data security safeguards, lawfulness of processing et cetera. Section 18(1) elaborates how processing of personal data must be processed without infringing the privacy rights of the data subject and how it must be done in a reasonable manner as well as lawful manner. Could it be said that the Electoral Commission has breached the privacy laws of Ghana?

Lack of supervision has exposed the Electoral Commission so far as data protection is concerned. Elections in the 4th Republic of Ghana have been conducted since 1992 and there should be little room for incompetence.

STRANEK-Africa therefore calls on the Data Protection Commission to bring the EC to order over gross privacy violations.

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Nii Tettey Tetteh
Executive Director
+233 559 042 914

Eyram Norglo
Deputy Director of Research
+233 266 119 773