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Cameroon: Labour union lobbies government for better data protection

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 31 Aug 2021

Cameroon’s largest private sector lobby group, The Cameroon Employers’ Union (GICAM), has called for improved data protection policies and in a recent report criticised the administration for a lack of effective regulation.

According to GICAM, “the necessity for digital transformation and the development of personalised and innovative electronic services and products warrants the accumulation of large volumes of data, posing problems of collection, treatment and protection of personal information.”

It added that COVID-19 has forced more people online and exacerbated the situation.

However, Cameroon is yet to adopt a suitable legal framework akin to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“In Cameroon, the legal framework for the protection of personal data does not tie up with the rapid evolution of the ecosystem and the digitisation of enterprises/administrations,” reads part of the policy brief prepared by GICAM’s Digital Economy Commission.

As an example, GICAM referred to a digital platform implemented by the country’s tax administration for e-registration, tax declaration and clearance certificates.

It said registration information of two million tax payers is accessible online via the platform, and has led to identity theft and phishing incidents, according to the Union.

The group also criticised the way medical records are managed – including COVID-19 PCR tests on a government ministry platform, as well as personal data by insurers and social insurance registration.

GICAM argues that the situation stems from the fact that Cameroon does not have an institutional organ or independent authority charged with the protection of data.

It added that not even the National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies possesses effective competencies for protection of personal data.

Cameroon has yet to ratify or even sign the 2014 Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection.

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