21.07.2020 Feature Article

Protect The Personal Information Of Government's Employees In Ghana

Protect The Personal Information Of Government's Employees In Ghana
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Do our laws in this country work at all or they only wake up and begin to work when the damage is caused already? It's interesting to know that, once someone starts doing any work and being paid by CAGD, he or she starts receiving messages from all manner of faceless companies asking him or her to come for a loan. Why don't these companies send such information to traders, farmers, and most especially, the unemployed graduates , who need such money to do businesses ? But this will never be the case. For those who offer these loans, know who they want to give it to and why and so they will always choose to send it to those employed by the government.

What the Data Protection Commission has woefully failed to do is its inability to prosecute companies found guilty of these infractions. The Data Protection Act, 2012, Act 843 states unequivocally that, "non compliance with provisions of the Act may attract either civil liabilities, or criminal sanctions or both depending on the nature of the infractions". Therefore, if section 40 of the Act states that "To prevent processing of personal data for the purposes of direct marketing " it means these companies which keep pestering workers with their "come for quick loan" messages have been breaching the law while the Data protection Commission is watching without taking any punitive measures to stop illegal act. Where do they get the phone numbers and names of the workers from? Maybe the commission is waiting to have momentous legal issues before it starts to work. Purely the African, for that matter, the Ghanaian way of doing things. We never take proactive measures until something untoward crops up and we then begin to wear our thinking cups, when many a time it might be too late to find any remedies.

The questions I ask without getting the right answers are simple. Who gives out the names of such employees to those companies in the first place? Why is it that when these people weren't working such stupid messages weren't coming to their phones every other minute, but once they take the first salary, there is no day these messages won't come through their phones. May be its by magic!

If indeed the Data Protection Act was working perfectly as expected, these goons should have been dealt with by now. It's the duty of CAGD to keep save the data of workers it pays and not to give it to a third party to keep disturbing them every other minute. Must we always wait till the harm is caused before we start to regret and lament it? However insignificant this law might look, we need to implement it for the sake of the employees' protection.

Anyway, there are only three possible sources these fraudsters can get the names and phone numbers of government's employees from. And these sources are; the teachers' unions, account departments of government's institutions, and CAGD. It is a fact that these three sources have the list of all government's employees with them. Why can't measures be taken to cease this worrying situation and allow the employees that peace of mind for once?

The situation of having to receive messages every other minute is not only disturbing but it exposes the workers to scam and fraudulent activities by those faceless people, who purportedly send these messages to coax them to come for loans. Many of these messages as I have mentioned come from fake companies with the intention to defraud the poor worker. It has happened before and it can always happen again.

The other problem is that, there are times some of these workers need loans, but the bureaucratic process of getting a loan granted by many departments puts them off. Once these crooks promise giving loans within some shortest possible time, they turn to fall into their deceit only to be duped by them. The gullibility of the workers should be blamed but who gives their names and phone numbers to these fraudsters in the first place? Shouldn't the list be keep confidentially?

Ghana is one such country with many beautiful laws that don't work or only work when some other people matter. In modern corporate governance, maintaining employees' confidentiality in protecting their personal information is certainly key to adding credibility to any company. It's therefore unethical for the three possible sources mentioned above to be giving out workers' personal information to other third parties to keep worrying and defrauding them.

The Data Protection Act, if indeed there is anything like that, must therefore begin to bite. I believe in the eyes of the law, what these possible sources do is not right. They should be punitive measures to curb the rampant nature of this fraudulent activity and to allow the government's worker who takes nothing home as salary his or her peace of mind. The teachers' unions, institutions' accountants and CAGD must help stop this act now or face the legal wrath of some workers soon.

F.A. Baaladong

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