Policy think tank IMANI has said that the Electoral Commission’s decision to make it easy for people to build a database of voter ID cards linked to polling stations adds little value to the process of ensuring transparency.

IMANI in a statement said the EC by doing this, is facilitating automated micro-targeting by political parties or other entities who may rely on personal data to cause harm to individuals.

“The Voter ID card linked to the age, name and polling station of an individual is much too similar to the KYC profile of most people held at the banks, telcos and utility companies in this country for it to receive anything other than standard data security protection,” IMANI said in a statement.

This comes after the Electoral Commission published information about voters including their names, ages, ID numbers as well as polling centers, in the voters roll released on their website.

Though the decision is in line with clause 3 and 4 of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (CI 19), regulation 25, IMANI says this is a breach of privacy for persons who had their names captured on the list put out on the site.

“There is no reason to make it easy for people to scoop the data and automate its use for micro targeting, a situation more likely to facilitate abusive political telemarketing than to empower citizens.

“If someone has a need to know the voter ID number of another person, there should be a process to establish that need and a means to restrict the knowledge to that classic ‘need to know’ fashion,” IMANI added.

IMANI further condemned the use of what it described as “poor choice of technology standard.”

IMANI said that to use a standard GSuite license without the necessary certifications not only to store, but also to distribute, and enable redistribution, of Government of Ghana data in a Google Drive folder is the height of irresponsibility.

“It is trite knowledge that basic GSuite services are not part of Google’s better-defended and more compliant Government Cloud service (a related conversation is the susceptibility of this entry-level service to data corruption due to unsophisticated access configurations for administrators).

“The EC seriously needs to watch it. This incessant need to PR its way out of its credibility issues is bound to have serious repercussions in this country,” IMANI added.