Public Service Commission Shortlists 10 for Kenya Data Commissioner Position

Public Service Commission Shortlists 10 for Kenya Data Commissioner Position

Ten people have been shortlisted for the position of Data commissioner by the Public Service Commission.

The Commission published the names of ten candidates who are scheduled to have interviews on July 2, 2020. 

“The Commission had received two hundred and six (206) applications (from applications from suitably qualified Kenyans). Following the conclusion of the shortlisting exercise, the Commission publishes the names and the interview schedule of the shortlisted candidates and calls for public participation requesting for comments on any of the candidates.”

The Commission published the names of ten candidates who are scheduled to have interviews on July 2, 2020.

The ten are John Walubengo Nyongesa, Thomas Oganga Odhiambo, Immaculate Kassait, Prof. David Gichoya, Brian Gichana Omwenga, Anthony Akelo Okulo, Dr. Kennedy Okong’o (PhD), Murshid Abdalla Mohamed, Mercy Kiiru Wanjau, and Dr. Mwalili Tobias Mbithi.

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The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is an office established by section 5 (i) of the Data Protection Act, 2019.  The Data Protection Bill, 2019, was signed into law on the 8th of November 2019.

The Data Protection Act provides for the establishment of the office of the Data Commissioner in accordance with Article 260 (q) of the Constitution and lays down the rules for the protection of personal data by both public and private entities.

According to the law, “The Data Protection Commissioner is obligated to implement the Act, establish and maintain a register of data controllers and data processors, exercising oversight on data processing operations and receiving/ investigating any complaint by any person on infringement of the rights under the Act.”

The Act gives effect to article 31 of Kenya’s Constitution which is on privacy. This Article provides that:

 Every person has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have—

(a) Their person, home of the property searched;

(b) Their possessions seized;

(c) Information relating to their family or private affairs unnecessarily required or revealed; or,

(d) The privacy of their communications infringed.

Moreover, in Kenya, there are still a number of laws that protect the right to privacy of personal data. These include the Official Secrets Act; Children’s Act; HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act; Witness Protection Act; and the Banking Act. 

Others are the Credit Reference Bureau Regulations and Capital Markets Act; Access to Information Act; and the Public Archives and Documentation Service Act; the Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA); Private Security Regulation Act; and the Elections (Technology) Regulations, 2017.

“Together with professional ethics and pronouncements of the courts, these laws regulate aspects of data processing in specific cases. However, they do not comprehensively cover all instances of data processing. For instance, educational institutions collect personal data of their students,” according to The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder Think Tank for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and regulation.

“These institutions are not beholden to protect the data from unauthorised access and use. In addition, online platforms that people use to access internet services for example Facebook and Twitter are not subject to data protection licence conditions under the Kenya Information and Communication Act (KICA).”

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