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Vodacom addresses Data Protection

Retšelisitsoe Mohanoe

In an attempt to arrest the data security challenge, following a rise in cases of privacy invasion and information leakages, telecommunications giant Vodacom Lesotho (VCL) convened a Data Protection Workshop in Maseru last week.

Speaking at the event, VCL Representative Reitumetse Ramaema, indicated the importance of the training which she said was aimed at restoring and maintaining subscribers’ trust in the Vodacom network. 

She further indicated that the workshop would also serve as an eye-opener for VCL as all stakeholders would have a platform to either advice or critic on issues pertaining to their privacy and data or information protection.

She indicated that there are situations wherein subscribers’ personal information is shared with law enforcement agencies, stressing that such only happens as a rarity as ordered by the Courts of Law, with proper paper work and clear reasons as to why a need to release such information is provided.

“We usually turn back different police officers on the basis of insufficient paperwork for the release of personal information. At times even when all necessary paperwork has been presented, if the reasoning is not compelling enough, Vodacom refuses to issue such information,” Ramaema explained, adding however, that in most cases they release such data to The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) and the National Security Services (NSS).

The training was attended by members of security services including Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS), Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), NSS and also the DCEO as well as the media and legal practitioners.  

Ramaema further described that the provided personal information on demand is usually issued on a flash drive with password protection so as to avoid being tempered with by whoever will be representing the said agency in that case, although the password protection according to an NSS’s officer one Moiloa, is not completely secured since passwords can be cracked and bypassed.

He then advised that information in such cases should be ‘Hashed’ as ‘Hash Codes’ are very hard to crack and that will make it far more difficult for information to be tempered with.

For his part, Mohanoe Radebe of the LDF also indicated that they have already embarked on a journey to try figuring out more efficient and safer ways of protecting and moving private or very important information.

He expressed interest to further meet and discuss in depth those measures with Vodacom’s technical and security teams.

Moiloa indicated that there are cases where individual users can appoint their close relatives to access or request personal private information on their behalf from Vodacom, although proper legal documentation is requisite to facilitate such information release.

Meanwhile all the stakeholders stressed the importance of the initiative hence a commitment to hold it again in the near future as part of measures to fight cybercrime or privacy invasion.

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