Their response comes after a private legal practitioner petitioned Vodafone Ghana’s mother company, the Vodafone Group UK over allegations of privacy rights violations, and also filed a lawsuit.
National Communications Authority denies breaching Mobile subscribers’ data and privacy
The National Communications Authority (NCA), has said that it is misleading for the public to believe that it has breached the privacy rights of customers of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country.
In a statement, the NCA said the Authority, “In March 2020, requested “passive mobile positioning data logs” from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). This allows the NCA to gather location information to assist the Ghana Health Service to map Covid19 hotspots by undertaking historical and current analysis of persons potentially infected with COVID-19 for contact tracing purposes. It is “passive” and “historical” because it is not live real-time tracking.”
The statement explained that this is in accordance with the Establishment of Emergency Communications Systems Instrument, 2020 (E.I. 63) which demands network operators or service providers to cooperate with the NCA Common Platform to provide information to State agencies in the event of a public health emergency.
The NCA clarified that “All MNOs i.e. AirtelTigo, Glo, MTN and Vodafone, complied with the request for information which was subsequently processed and forwarded to the Ghana Health Service for purpose as stated.”
“There was no objection by any Party in respect of COVID-19 contact tracing data request until an application for injunction order was filed in the courts on (date). The court is expected to decide on the injunction application on June 23,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, “The NCA would like to assure consumers and the general public that there has been no breach of personal data and privacy in the compliance by MNOs or the MCA to the requirements of law.”
A Ghanaian private legal practitioner petitioned Vodafone Ghana’s mother company the Vodafone Group UK over allegations of privacy rights violations.
According to Francis Kwarteng Arthur’s solicitors, Archbridge Solicitors, they petitioned Vodafone Group UK, due to the “nonchalant posturing” of Vodafone Ghana in protecting the privacy of its customers.
“While other telecommunication network or service providers, like MTN, have vehemently contested the request as overly disproportionate or even irrelevant to the stated purpose and, thereby, a threat to subscribers’ right to privacy, your Ghana office has, at best, remained completely silent and unconcerned about the issue”, the petition states in its paragraph 2(e).
Mr Kwarteng Arthur has also dragged President Akufo-Addo, the National Communication Authority, Kelni GVG, Vodafone Ghana, and MTN to court over allegations of privacy rights violations.
However, a statement from Vodafone indicated that in March this year, President Nana Akufo-Addo, passed an Executive Instrument (E.I. 63) that demanded the mobile network operators in the country, including Vodafone Ghana, to submit subscriber information known as Call Data Records (CDRs) to the National Communications Authority (NCA).
The statement explained further that the requirement was part of the government’s contact tracing initiative in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
The statement said all the mobile network operators complied with the E.I 63.
“The Executive Instrument was subsequently challenged by a customer, who filed an application at the High Court for an injunction to stop all mobile network operators from sharing his data with the National Communications Authority (NCA).”
“Upon receipt of the injunction application, Vodafone Ghana, immediately stopped the transmission of all subscriber data related to the contact tracing initiative, pending the court’s ruling on the case, scheduled for June 23rd, 2020,” it noted.
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