Poor data security could put lives at risk, aid workers in Somalia claim.


If personal information required to process mobile payments is lost or falls into incorrect hands, employees say ‘Highly dangerous’

The rapid growth of international groups’ use of digital technology in Somalia raises questions about the risk to individuals whose data is being collected. The coronavirus pandemic has increased humanitarian organizations’ use of programs to provide assistance, but local workers working with different NGOs say the organizations are not thinking enough about data protection or obtaining informed consent. If the data gets lost or falls into the wrong hands, it’s extremely dangerous,”It’s extremely dangerous if the data gets lost or falls into the wrong hands,” “We have seen people killed recently after their personal data was leaked. This is a matter of life and death. Non-governmental organizations should adhere to the humanitarian principle of ‘do no harm’ when providing aid to poor people,” he said. “Most of the citizens living in IDP camps have left areas under the rule of the al-Shabaab Islamist militia.

Some have fled forced recruitment, while others have defied orders not to seek “help from infidels.” Community leaders are often required to offer consent on behalf of their preferred beneficiaries, rather than giving their own consent to each person,” said a local staff member who worked in Somalia on the cash transfer program.” Huge quantities of data are gathered by the UN and its partner NGOs, including personally identifiable information about vulnerable individuals, exchanged between various organizations and mobile operators, raising the risk of breaches. The Somali Cash Consortium, a coalition comprising Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Danish Refugee Council and Concern Worldwide, is working to harmonize

It follows the strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU, which allows people more influence about how their personal data is used. Read more “Data protection is an important and growing area of work for humanitarian and development organizations, as we all need data to deliver aid,” says Director Alessandro Bini. With the care and attention it needs, the Cash Consortium has put a lot of thought and time into addressing this issue. “Cash Consortium has put a lot of thought and time into addressing this issue with the care and attention it deserves. ” As an efficient and reliable intervention model, the framework has been praised and is said to have helped prevent another famine in 2017.

The consortium has distributed $46 million (£34 million) to 600,000 individuals during the past three years. In dealing with recipients, each company has its own internal policies.

The money is transferred via mobile operators like Hormuud, Somalia’s largest network, which disburses it through cell phones. Telecommunications firms use the data obtained from humanitarian organizations for their own marketing purposes, this is not what the recipients have signed up for,”The telecom companies are using the data received from the humanitarian organizations for their own marketing, which is not what the beneficiaries signed up for,” “Unfortunately, NGOs don’t seem to care about it, they don’t see it as a problem simply because beneficiaries would never complain about data breaches for fear of losing aid.” It’s doubtful that if we try to give them money, people would say no.

But to get informed consent, we do whatever we can.

When we gather data, either in person or through our call center, consent is obtained orally. When we use the call center, we record and review the calls to ensure that the beneficiaries have duly obtained consent, Bini said. Covid-19 is facing catastrophic locust invasions and flooding by the Somali government. According to the UN, 5.2 million people are in need. Zakarie Ismael, an official with the ICT department of the government, said efforts to create legislation are underway


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