Deputy Info Minister assures all of data protection, online privacy
SIERRA LEONE, Freetown: At a town hall meeting on data rights and protection at the Radission Blu hotel, Aberdeen; the Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Solomon Jamiru has registered government’s commitment to protecting the data rights.
“…President Julius Maada Bio met with the SLAJ Executive on 21st May 2018, reiterating his manifesto promise to decriminalize free speech. And on October 28, 2020, [presidential] assent to the amended 1965 Public Order Act, marked the complete removal of the 55 year-old sword of Damocles. Government is equally committed to our interaction in the cyber space and the protection of personal data rights,” the deputy minister assured.
Like many other countries in Africa, Jamiru noted, “Sierra Leone’s interest in increased digital governance was actually triggered by the 2014 Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection (which called for a homogeneous data protection framework for Africa) and shortly afterward, the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union.”
He added that, Sierra Leone witnessed how African countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Togo, and Uganda adopted Data Protection policies in 2019, followed by Rwanda and Egypt in 2020; and South Africa also enacted the Protection of Personal Information Act in 2020.
The Deputy Minister said that following Cabinet’s approval for drafting and enactment of a Data Protection law, the Ministry is currently working with NCRA to have extensive consultation and validation of the draft. The legislation, he said will bear the relevant hallmarks of a personal data protection instrument, and quite aligned with civil liberties. Noting that It will ensure lawful, fair, and transparent processing of data; accuracy of data and collection of data for clearly defined and legitimate purposes; storage of data no longer than the period necessary; as well as guaranteeing the security, integrity, and confidentiality of our personal data.
The event was hosted by Chozen Generation Sierra Leone with support from our UK partner, Small Media. This discussion aims to continue our Universal Periodic Review (UPR) digital rights advocacy efforts in Sierra Leone. This initiative brought together relevant stakeholders within the domain including members of parliament, government officials, private sector, and civil society actors to interactively engage on the implications of the absence of a data protection law in the country and suggest recommendations on how the country should proceed with passing a law that provides for the protection of citizen’s right to data privacy. OG/24/11/2021
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