A private legal practitioner, Kofi Owusu Nhyira, says the Electoral Commission of Ghana did not breach any provision in the Data Provision Act 2012, when it used Google Drive documents to release voter information on its website.
The EC published the electoral roll, ahead of the special voting exercise on December 1, 2020, and the general elections on December 7, 2020.
“The law is very clear that entities that perform specific functions through enactment or have an authorization from any form of law do not have their actions governed directly by the dictates of the data protection act. What it means is that we cannot purport to suggest that the EC, which is set up by an enactment, has breached the data laws of the country,” Kofi Owusu Nhyira said on Citi Trends.
“The CI 91 which sets out how elections are conducted allows the EC to publish the electoral roll. The law allows for the roll to be published on the EC’s website. To this extent, you would wonder whether the framers of the law anticipated the very phenomenon of cybersecurity and data exploitation. In law, there has been no breach, but one would wonder if the EC took into consideration, what could precipitate from this move that it made.”
He also pointed out the phenomenon in India, where the electoral roll was published, but citizens could only get access to their information if they type in their voter ID numbers.
Many Ghanaians expressed their displeasure with the manner in which the commission displayed the information, using Google Docs, with anyone able to check the name, age, polling station and the voter ID number of any Ghanaian.
Those who expressed worry complained about how the EC was not respecting the personally identifiable information of any Ghanaian.
The Commission has taken down the information, and said that it will re-publish the electoral roll, embedded with enhanced security features.
“Our IT team was called to include and introduce more systems to it to make it more functional. We intend to upload it in the next few days,” Jean Mensa, the chairperson of the EC has said.