The National Communications Authority (NCA) has described as misleading claims that there has been a breach in the privacy rights of customers of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country.
This comes after a private legal practitioner petitioned Vodafone Ghana’s mother company, the Vodafone Group UK over allegations of privacy right violations.
A statement issued by the NCA explained that 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 COVID-19 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 also noted that, this is in accordance with the Establishment of Emergency Communications Systems Instrument, 2020 (E.I. 63) which requires 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.
However, the NCA further stated 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 the 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 noted.
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.”
Earlier this month, a lawyer, Mr. Francis Kwarteng Arthur, dragged the President, the National Communication Authority, Kelni GVG, Vodafone Ghana and MTN to court over allegations of privacy right violations.
He has also petitioned Vodafone Ghana’s mother company – the Vodafone Group UK.
According to Mr. Arthur’s solicitors, Archbridge Solicitors, the petition was necessitated by the “nonchalant posturing” of Vodafone Ghana in the middle of the most extensive threat to privacy rights in Ghana’s history and one of the most extensive in the world.
“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,” portions of the petition read.
But Vodafone Ghana has rejected the claims stating that information about customers, including subscriber information, also known as call data records (CDRs), remains encrypted and secure as the company takes data security and storage of personal information extremely serious.