A Data Protection workshop, aiming at sensitising Data Controllers on various topics such as cloud computing and biometric data that are of major concern for organisations, opened this morning in the Lunch Room of the National Assembly in Port Louis.
Organised by the Data Protection Office, which operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation, the half-day workshop’s presentations focused on privacy impact assessment, use of smart device apps, data sharing and security of personal data.
In his address, the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Etienne Sinatambou, stressed on the importance of the right to privacy. Data protection has to be one of the fundamentals of our democracy and the Data Protection Office and Government is very right to insist on the obligations that it has imposed under the Data Protection Act, he said. The Minister also noted that the Act now has a number of lacunae which time has revealed and thus needs some updating due to developments that have occurred globally.
According to Mr Sinatambou, it would be wise to look at data protection within the wider spectrum of cybersecurity. On that note he lauded the fact that Mauritius now ranks 9th on the Global Cybersecurity index and first in Africa. He called for more efforts to make sure that we distance Uganda which is ranked 10th and second in Africa and for Mauritius to aspire to be in the top five.
The Minister moreover said that all that is being done with regard to data protection has as objectives to increase the national cake, make sure that our country continues its level of progress from an economical and financial point of view and ensure that our people get a better life.
For her part, the Data Protection Commissioner, Mrs Drudeisha Madhub, stated that there is a pressing need to adopt a more proactive approach and design data protection safeguards from the very outset in all ICT-driven technologies and architectures. The data protection community is standing at a pivotal technological moment where it has a unique opportunity and responsibility to carve the future of privacy for the global digital economy given the important reforms being carried out in this field, she said. Mauritius is also aiming to become a cyber-model for the region and it is high time that our data protection regime work not only in our local context, but at the same time be at par with international challenges, added Mrs Madhub.
It is recalled that the data protection regime has been in force in Mauritius for more than seven years now. In fact, the Data Protection Office is in operation since February 2009 when the founding section of the Data Protection Act 2004 came into force. The Data Protection Office aims at protecting privacy rights of individuals. An annual report is submitted to the National Assembly of Mauritius under section 55 of the Data Protection Act each year.