Tanzania: Law On Personal Data Protection in Pipeline

THE government has reiterated its commitment to introduce the law on personal data protection, saying the process of crafting it was ongoing.

Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology, Dr Jim Yonazi, said the process was at final stages to have the law in place.

Dr Yonazi made the statement recently in Dar es Salaam, when he graced a Tanzania Internet Governance Forum (TzIGF) on behalf of Minister for the docket, Dr Ashatu Kijaji.

The forum themed: 'Lessons of the Internet resilience in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic' was organised by the Internet Society Tanzania Chapter (ISOC-Tanzania).

"The new law will ensure that anyone who collects people's data should be responsible for protecting them," Dr Yonazi stated.

However, as the process of drafting the new law was ongoing, Dr Yonazi emphasized that institutions should protect personal data of their customers.

The Article 16 of the Constitution calls for the enactment of law that stipulates how privacy rights may be protected, pursued or interfered with by the government.

The importance of the subject of privacy and data protection has gained unprecedented attention in recent years, requiring better and more elaborate rules of protection.

Individuals are sometimes exposed to possible abuse and even to harmful consequences as a result of the developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the role it plays in the collection of personal information and the tendency of companies and business enterprises to collect and use personal information in making business decisions.

Speaking over the TzIGF, Dr Yonazi said the meeting was important since it discussed internet governance, which includes among others, regulations, internet rights and procedures.

He said it was important since it came during a period of Covid-19 pandemic, when the internet has been mostly used.

"Internet has continued to bring development... with internet we could play a great role in the country's industrialisation drive," he said, noting that the national fibre optic cable coverage has now reached 25 regions.

"It is important to ensure that we use the internet profitably. The youth, innovators and academicians should ensure that the internet is properly used for the benefit of the country," he said, noting that there are several youth who have created their own jobs online, selling various products.

He congratulated the President Samia Suluhu Hassan for recognizing ICT as a key area from which the country could benefit from in facilitating development.

On his part, President of the ISOC Tanzania, Mr Nazar Kirama, pledged that stakeholders will continue collaborating with the government in making sure that the internet becomes more affordable to Tanzanians.

The TzIGF is a multi-stakeholder platform for public policy dialogue on internet governance. It involves stakeholders from the Civil Society, government, technical community, the academia and the Private Sector on the bottom-up agenda planning and consultations to arrive at topics, presentations, themes and sessions to be presented during the forum.

TzIGF is also part of the United Nations' Internet Governance Forum ecosystem, known as National and Regional Initiatives (NRIs).

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