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Join us in celebrating the National Data Protection Week 2024 by taking control of your data.

Published on : 22 Jan, 2024

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The Eswatini Data Protection Act came into force in March 2022 and espouses the Right to Privacy as enshrined in the Eswatini Constitution, 2005. The object of the Act is “to provide for the collection, processing, disclosure and protection of personal data; balancing competing values of personal information privacy and sector-specific laws and other related matters”. The Act designates the Eswatini Communications Commission as the    Eswatini Data Protection Authority (EDPA) charged with the responsibility to enforce compliance thereto. 

On Friday, 26 January 2024, Eswatini will join the world in commemorating the International Data Protection Day by hosting an event under the theme “Take Control of Your Data”. The Data Protection Day is internationally celebrated each year on 28 January, which marks the anniversary of the Council of Europe’s ‘Convention 108’ on the protection of personal information - the first legally binding international law on data protection which was open for signature in 1981.

However, other countries soon embraced the initiative, and now Data Protection Day is globally recognized. It is an international effort to create awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust. The National Data Protection Day is also a chance to catch up with new developments in the Data Protection area.

As the EDPA we recognise the week of 22-28 January as the National Data Protection Week, during which we urge entities (data controllers and data processors) and other actors to organise activities to raise awareness about the importance of data protection and to promote best practices with regards to processing personal information. Data protection concerns mainly individuals (the data subjects) whose personal information is processed by entities in their line of business.  Still, many people lack knowledge about how their personal data is being collected, used, and shared.

As this year’s theme indicates, taking control of data subjects themselves. It is important to make informed and calculated decisions when sharing your personal data, especially with entities. Your personal data such as age, gender, data related to children, health records, National Identity number, financial records, purchase history, location have great value and may be used for unintended purposes. It is important to keep that in mind when deciding what you share and with whom. 

Entities who in terms of the Act are data controllers and data processors on the other hand need to make sure that they keep their customers’ data always protected and in accordance with the data protection principles and other applicable legal frameworks on data protection. Risk should always be managed, and to create trust, the entities should be transparent on how they are collecting, using, and sharing personal data. A data breach where an individual’s personal data is leaked or accessed by unauthorised persons can lead to a loss in both   reputation and customer trust, in addition to potential financial sanctions which may be imposed by the EDPA. 

In this regard we invite the public to join us this National Data Protection Week through our social media platforms, radio, TV and print media as we raise awareness, promote data protection best practices, and discuss important privacy-related topics to remind organizations and individuals why they should care about data privacy.  

ESCCOM Chief Executive

Mvilawemphi Dlamini