Following the recent controversy surrounding Communications Minister Ursula Owusu Ekuful over an $89 million contract she signed with Kelni-GVG to monitor call traffic, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT) has released a statement detailing government monitoring activities.
“As an industry, which has been monitored for close to a decade, we are not averse to monitoring, as we do not have anything to hide,” the statement reads.
But it says the current monitoring design from the National Communications Authority (NCA) and Kelni-GVC does not hold up to their criteria.
“Our informed position is that the current architecture from the NCA and Kelni-GVG does not conform to these design standards. The architecture does not provide our customers with the privacy of their communication that the constitution guarantees them,” the statement signed by GCT’s CEO Kenneth Ashigbey, reads.
The statement continues to say that the NCA and Kelni-GVG’s “monitoring mechanism has the capability to actively or passively record, monitor, or tap into the content of any incoming or outgoing electronic communications traffic such as voice.”
Deputy Communications Minister George Andah refuted the statement. In an interview with Daniel Dadzie on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, he said the government is against collecting personal data from network subscribers.
“We are not interested in monitoring the content of call transmissions,” he said. “We are doing this solely for signaling purposes. And more importantly, there is a law in Ghana that says the privacy of citizens must be respected.”
Andah further explained that the National Communications Authority has put in place three data protection practitioners to ensure that the information of Ghanaian remains safe.
Deputy Communications Minister George Andah
A Ghana law released by the Ministry of the Interior states that the government “will not do anything tantamount to the invasion of the privacy of citizenry and an affront on the respect of the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.”
Andah disproved critics who suggested that the money his team has invested in the traffic monitoring design model was inefficient. According to him, the current administration has already saved an estimated GH¢3 million using the new model since it took office.
“In the previous regime, we had traffic monitoring and revenue assurance through vendors priced at $2.6 million a month. The current government is paying $1.4 million,” he said.
Andah says Ekuful is hopeful the new contract will increase revenue by 20 percent.
Meanwhile in an address to Parliament Thursday, Ekuful said the controversy surrounding the Kelni-GVG contract is “totally unnecessary.”
Currently, Kelni-GVG has taken effect in telecommunications company Glo. Vodaphone is currently in the process of implementing the Kelni-GVG design.