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‘Kelni-GVG Won’t Invade Privacy’

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The Minister for Communication, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has assured that the Kelni-GVG equipment acquired for real-time monitoring of telecommunications traffic in the country is not capable of invading consumers’ privacy.

According to her, the equipment would only be connected and configured to collect needed data to verify the number of minutes, revenue and fraud-related information; but not the caller’s identity or content of the communication.

The Ministry’s contract with Kelni-GVG has received backlash from some telecom operators, who are of the fear that the privacy of their consumers would be invaded.

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, in a recent statement, mentioned that the nature of the contract makes it easy for the privacy of telephone users to be invaded.

Responding to their worries on Friday, after a tour of the Kelni-GVG facility at the National Communication Authority (NCA), the Minister said: “If the privacy of their customers is their only worry then let me tell the telcos that they can go to bed because we got them covered. We are not interested in people’s private conversations and will apply the law fully to ensure that the vendor does not breach anyone’s privacy.”

The current deal ensures that the equipment would be situated on the premises of the NCA for government to properly monitor and ensure security for Ghanaians.

The Director-General of NCA, Mr. Joe Anokye, on his part said his outfit had put in place measures to ensure the security and privacy of consumers.

He believed telecommunication operators were overplaying the privacy card, probably because they had something to hide.

“We have visited four countries where each of these telcos operate and they are happy to comply with real-time monitoring so why are they apprehensive about the same system in Ghana? Is it because they have something to hide?” he quizzed.

Background

An $89million five-year contract has been awarded to the Ghanaian IT company and its Haitan partner to monitor mobile money transactions, revenue assurance, telecoms traffic, and fraud management.

To do that, Kelni GVG would have to connect their equipment to the billing and other nodes of the telcos to be able to collect real-time data for verification among other things.

The contract would be for an initial period of five years, renewable for another five years, subject to certain conditions being met.

Key among these conditions is satisfactory performance, cost-effectiveness of maintaining the solutions and services provided, and the capacity, in terms of technical resources, of KELNI-GVG Limited to continue providing the requisite services.

June 11, Deadline

The Minister has announced June 11, as the deadline for final connection to the Common Platform.

So far, according to her, Vodafone and Glo are in the process of connecting physically to the Common Platform (CMP); and added that she expected the others to do same, shortly.

She clarified that any service provider who refuses to provide access to its network for government or its appointed agents as specified in the Act commits an offence and is liable to pay a penalty.

“Their deadline for final connection is June 11, 2018, and failure or refusal to do so will result in imposition of the specified sanctions,” she said.

By: Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum

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