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BTC urges compliance with Botswana’s data protection legislation

Botswana Telecommunications (BTC) has urged businesses to ensure their systems are compliant with the country’s new Data Protection Act.

The legislation came into effect in October 2021 and covers the lawfulness and fairness of processing, purpose limitation, retention limitation, data minimisation, relevance and adequacy of personal data, integrity and confidentiality of personal data.

The Act's transition period is 12 months from the date of commencement and will automatically end on 15 October 2022, meaning that companies and data controllers must begin with the process of compliance.

Speaking at the company’s Cloud Talks series, held recently under the banner: ‘The importance of Data protection in the Digital World’, BTC Chief Operations Officer Aldrin Sivako said with the increased use of the internet, fuelled by COVID-19, the importance of privacy and data protection has become paramount.

“Data protection is another key subject that is critical in our times as countries and enterprises are in the race to pursue digital transformation initiatives in order to remain relevant and resilient into the future, while respecting the laws of the countries where they operate, especially laws relating to protection of personal data,” said Sivako.

He added that the new Data Protection Act and implementation of the country’s cyber security strategy will go a long way in ensuring customer data safety, deterring exploitation or abuse of data by third parties through unauthorised access.

Deputy Permanent Secretary for ICT at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Cecil Masiga has emphasised that data protection is a legislative framework for ensuring the privacy of individuals in relation to how their personal data is maintained, transmitted and stored.

“Data protection laws regulate the protection of personal data by governmental and non-governmental organisations and that every entity that handles customers’ personal information must familiarise themselves with this piece of legislation as compliance is mandatory.”

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