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Business News of Monday, 11 June 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Communications ministry left ‘no option but to go to court’ - Lawyer

A lawyer representing two Ghanaians suing the Communications Ministry over the Kelni GVG deal says multiple attempts to meet with the ministry were unsuccessful, leading to the lawsuit.

“We reached out to the ministry and they have not had a single meeting with us,” said Kofi Bentil, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs suing the ministry. “They don’t take us seriously and it left us no option but to go to court.”

In court documents obtained by MyJoyOnline, the plaintiffs, Maximus Amertogoh and Sarah Owen Asafu-Adjaye allege the Kelni GVG contract would breach their fundamental right to privacy and give the government access to the data of millions.

“It is the responsibility of the ministry and the National Communications Authority to ensure that they will not infringe upon our rights to privacy,” Bentil told Joy FM’s Malik Daabu on the Super Morning Show. “We are not convinced that they have our privacy rights in mind.”

The controversial $89 million contract, signed last December, will involve traffic monitoring, mobile money monitoring, revenue assurance and fraud management. To do that, Kelni GVG will have to connect equipment to the nodes of telcos and collect real-time data of consumers.

Amertogoh, a social media consultant and tech developer, says he is requesting that the government prove they will not monitor consumers’ calls. He says he is not assured they will not surveil Ghanaians calls.

“It will compromise the data of subscribers,” Amertogoh said. “From what we know, this kind of system they will build within the telcos will infringe upon our privacy.”

According to the 2008 Electronic Communications Act, it is an offense for a person to “intercept or procure another person to intercept, without the authorisation of the provider or user, or a court order, or otherwise obtains or procures another person to obtain, unlawful access to communication transmitted over [an] electronic communications network.”

Meanwhile, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu Ekuful and Director-General of the NCA, Joe Anokye, have repeatedly defended the deal, stating Kelni GVG is not capable of spying on consumers.

On the Parliament floor last month, Ekuful justified the deal and lamented that the controversy surrounding it is “totally unnecessary.”

Other defendants in the lawsuit include the National Communications Authority, the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ministry of Justice, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Airtel Ghana, MTN Ghana, Tigo Ghana and Vodaphone Ghana.

The court date has been set for June 22.