Experts call for hiring of data specialists in counties

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Data protection experts now want county governments to have a special budget for data specialists.

This, they say will help in ensuring the specialists safeguard counties to remain in compliance with the Data Protection Authority.

County governments will now be required to hire qualified and dedicated Data Protection Officers.

Data Commissioner  Immaculate Kassait also called on the government to increase the Office of Data Protection Center’s annual budget steadily by 15 percent each year.

Kassait was speaking during the launch of the two reports, ‘Study on Sub National data practices in Kenya’ and Amnesty International Kenya Data Protection Report 2021.

The Data Commissioner noted that the ODPC has partnered with the Kenya School of Government to offer training on data protection.

The draft curriculum has eight units to be delivered in 30 hours and is available for both the public and private sectors.

“The aim of the curriculum is to improve the competencies of participants in data protection for awareness and compliance with the law,” Kassait said.

The report conducted by Open Institute noted that this will help in ensuring counties safeguard them and remain in compliance with the Data Protection Authority.

“Once data protection offices are hired, counties could work with the ODPC to develop tailor-made training and certification programs, “the report reads.

The report also called for the creation of financial resource measures to ensure that the ODPC Authority is able to operate within offices in counties.

The quest to gain independence by the Office of Data Protection Center (ODPC) was finally achieved.

This means; the center has legal independence, objectivity, impartiality, and allocation of sufficient resources.

Currently, ODPC has the mandate to hire data specialists in consultation with Public Service Commission.

Open Institute Executive Director Al Kags said that citizens should have a clear understanding of their data rights.

“Our end result is to create awareness and simplify issues around data protection for the consumption of the regular Kenyan citizen,” Kags stated.

Amnesty International Executive Director Irungu Houghton said citizens should use data in a way that informs policy.

“As Amnesty International, we are pleased that these two reports are a reflection of where we’ve reached as a country in terms of data protection,” Irungu said.

He noted that the two reports will help Data Commissioner Kassait as she rolls out her agenda on matters of data protection.

Globally, 132 out of 194 countries have put in place legislation to secure the protection of data and privacy.

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