Public institutions have been urged to prioritize the safeguarding of personal data obtained from individuals as they engage with their services.
Saidi Shaaban, the Deputy County Commissioner of Nandi Central, emphasized the necessity of protecting data in light of the growing prevalence of hacking as an income-generating activity. To counteract this threat, he stressed the importance of institutions setting up data banks to secure the information they possess.
“In accordance with the Constitution of Kenya, every individual holds the right to privacy. It is imperative that we take every measure to shield our data,” he cautioned. He further advised local residents to exercise caution when sharing personal data with third parties.
Shaaban made these remarks during an enlightening session hosted at a Kapsabet hotel. The event brought together over 100 participants representing diverse sectors, including government entities, private medical facilities, civil society organizations, the county administration, banks, youth collectives, the matatu industry, religious leaders, and the general public.
During the forum, Shaaban articulated that its objective was to raise awareness among data controllers and processors, enabling them to fully comprehend their responsibilities and adhere to regulations by registering with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).
Established in 2020 under the Data Protection Act of 2019, the ODPC is currently executing a comprehensive nationwide campaign aimed at informing citizens about their data protection rights.
The commission’s roles encompass overseeing the processing of personal data, safeguarding individuals’ privacy, instituting legal and institutional frameworks for data protection, and furnishing data subjects with rights and remedies to counteract unauthorized processing as outlined in the Act.
Abdullahi Ali, the principal data protection officer responsible for Advocacy and Collaboration at the ODPC, emphasized their mission to raise awareness and equip the public with insights into the authority’s mandates and core responsibilities in terms of data protection.
Ali also provided counsel for Kenyan citizens to exercise vigilance when interacting with links sent to their smartphones, as these could potentially expose their personal data to risks.