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Data protection officers untrained, lack relevant knowledge: NITA

NITA boss Dr Hatwib Mugasa. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Information and Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) has revealed that over 90 percent of data protection officers (DPOs) in different entities don’t have any specialized knowledge in data protection and management.

The stunning revelation was made at the second data protection and privacy conference on Tuesday in Kampala to mark the world data protection day.

In a data protection report released by NITA-U, Stephen Mugabe, the manager of Data Protection Affairs at NITA-U said that data protection officers in different organizations and government agencies had limited skills to ensure compliance with the law.

The Data protection and Privacy Act of 2019 protects the privacy of individual and of personal data by regulating the collection and processing of personal information.

The law also protects the rights of a person whose data is collected and defines the obligation of data collectors and controllers to regulate the use or disclosure of personal information.

The report also stated that 46.7 per cent of data protection officers don’t have any professional training in audit and Information Technology security.

Baker Birikujja, the Manager of compliance and investigations at NITA-U said that data protection officers in the data Protection and Privacy Act are required to ensure the compliance of their respective organizations with the law.

Birikujja added that many officers never knew their general responsibilities in respect of the law in a survey that was conducted in November last year.

Dr Hatwib Mugasa, the Executive Director of NITA-U said that data protection and privacy compliance are drivers for the social and economic transformation of the country.

He also said that due to the rapid advancement of technology, there is an exponential growth of data collected and processed from people that needs to be protected in respect of individual privacy.

Dr Mugasa adds that data is used to create new innovations, improve service delivery and create new business opportunities hence a need for compliance with data protection law.

The State Minister for Information Communication Technology and National Guidance, Godfrey Kabbyanga said there is a need for continued collaboration to safeguard personal information in the digital age.

He added that there is a greater need for protecting personal information because of the increasing use of technology in all aspects of people’s lives.

“There are so many people who want to steal data to go and sell it because data is a big business in the world today” Kabbyanga stated.

He also said that the government recognises the importance of data privacy and is committed to ensuring that all citizens have access to the necessary tools and resources to protect their personal information.

The conference was held under the theme; “Data Privacy Compliance as a drive for Social Economic Transformation”.

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