Director of Regulatory and Compliance at the Data Protection Commission (DPC), Dr Patrick Adonoo says Ghanaians must know that the protection of personal data starts with the individual.

His comment comes after a public notice of a breach in Facebook data protection where information of about 533 million users were leaked online, of which over one million users in Ghana have been affected.

The data includes full names, birthdates, phone numbers and locations of users.

Speaking on JoyNews Tuesday, Dr. Patrick Adonoo said Ghanaians need to be educated as his outfit is not solely responsible for people’s data protection.

In what seems to mean ‘each man for himself, God for us all’, Dr Adonoo said “the protection of your data starts from you”, noting that the breach in the Facebook data system is not exclusive to Ghana.

Calls from a Digital Marketing strategist, Maximums Ametorgoh and Founder of Africa Digital Hub, Teki Akuetteh Falconer on the same programme suggested that the Data Protection Commission intervenes quickly on behalf of Ghanaians.

Responding to that, Dr Adonoo said the Commission is seeking a better understanding of the current issue to proffer solutions but stressed “that a person’s data protection starts from the person.”

He said one “must be ready and aware of the damages you could be in if your data is breached” before putting out any information.

The Commission, according to him, has been educating Ghanaians to understand the need to be cautious of information one provides on a platform.

“I have told Ghanaians that look, there are certain information that you put out there and you know if it’s breached you are going to be in trouble.”

Dr Adonoo further stated that although there are systems meant to protect one’s data, people must “frequently, I mean once every three months or six months, go in there, and change your password.”

Facebook has, however, indicated that the massive leak stemmed from a 2019 issue that has been fixed.

Yet the entire data set has been identified on a hacking forum for free and made widely available to anyone with rudimentary skills as most platforms demands the data before granting access.

But the DPC Director of Regulatory and Compliance says “everybody’s phone number is there, yes you cannot do anything about it, everybody’s email is there, yes you cannot do anything about it.”

“But for some, there will be much more trouble because they put some other sensitive information about themselves there.”

He, therefore, cautioned the general public to make data protection a significant aspect of their lives, keeping in mind some of these unwanted occurrences.

“Look, when you get online, be careful what you put over there,” he cautioned.

“It’s so important that in these times whether we live it or not, data protection must be a significant aspect of our lives,” he added.