Potraz in Data Protection Act campaign

THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) plans to embark on an awareness campaign aimed at educating the public on the new Data Protection Act.

The Data Protection Act, which deals with how data can be collected, transmitted or distributed, was signed into law by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year in December.

The Act concentrates on giving maximum protection of privacy and introduces new law over the collection and storage of data and updates the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act to tackle offences that take place in the modern digital and online world.

Speaking during a webinar hosted by First Capital Bank yesterday, Potraz deputy director general Alfred Marisa said the campaign to be launched soon would help the public understand what the new law entails.

 “We are working on an awareness campaign that will be launched within the coming week to just sensitise institutions that are holding personal data, on their requirements, responsibilities as imposed by this Act.

“This Act is fairly new and some of the data controllers themselves are not yet familiar with the Act.

“We also want to educate everyone that there is certain information that if they give it to institutions those institutions should not share it but always make sure that customers are protected. We are urging the public to just grab a copy of the Act and go through it so that they can familiarise themselves with it,” Marisa said.

He said Potraz would regulate the amount of information institutions can keep and use.

 “Due to the coming in of the Act, we now have an additional role to ensure that all institutions such as banks, financial service providers and whoever has got personal data of consumers are regulated.”

Among other provisions, the statute seeks to provide for data protection with due regard to the Declaration of Rights enshrined in the Constitution and to uphold public and national interests.

It would also see the creation of the Data Protection Authority.

The law has come under criticism from various stakeholders, including opposition political parties and human rights groups who argue that it violates social media users by snooping on what citizens send and receive.