Telecom operators have no right to tap into people conversation -Communication Minister

Posted: June 9, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Ghana's Minister for Communication, Haruna Iddrisu says there is no law in the country's statue books that allow for eavesdropping or tapping telephone conversation.

The fear of insecurity that your calls or conversation are being monitored or recorded by telecom operators or the National Security should be a thing of the past. Minister for Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, has given the assurance that there is no law in the country’s statue books that allows telecom operators, individuals, or National Security to record or tap into peoples’ conversations.“The Ghanaian law does not allow for eavesdropping or tapping of telephone conversations by any person or institution, including National Security and the telecommunication entities themselves. Not even lawful interception is permissible in Ghana,” he said.

According to Mr. Iddrisu, many think erroneously that when they hear noises on their telephone lines, such as clicks, static or distance voices, then that line is tapped or being tapped.

He said though most tapping devices emit no audible sounds, the phenomenon in Ghana is largely “cross talk” or interferences created by the coupling of signals from other communications, citing conversation between two people as an example.

“In any case, there is nothing illegal about one of the parties to a telephone call recording the conversation between them. This is largely the case in Ghana,” he added.

Mr. Iddrisu was responding to questions posed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Takoradi, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, on whether any of the six telecommunication companies operating in Ghana had a device that records, listens into, or taps the conversation of citizens of this country.

The questions was in the name of Catherine Abelema Afeku, MP for Evalue-Gwira, who was conspicuously missing on the floor of the august House. Due to her absence, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Justice Joyce Adeline Bamford-Addo, indulged Mr. Darko-Mensah to ask the questions on behalf of the MP for Evalue-Gwira.

Mr. Iddrisu, who doubles as MP for Tamale South, said his outfit acknowledged the importance of privacy rights of communication users, and would continue to ensure that “the right to the privacy of communications is respected and upheld at all times, as guaranteed under Article 18(2) of the 1992 Constitution.”

Article 18(2) of the Constitution states: “No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication, except in accordance with the law, and as may be necessary in a free and democratic society for public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime, or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others.”

He told the Legislative House that all the telecommunications companies operating in the country had confirmed that they do not have any device or installation that records, listens into, or taps telephone conversations of telecommunication consumers.

According to him, the National Communication Authority (NCA), regulator of telecommunication operations in the country, was not aware of the existence of devices that listen into telephone conversations.

“That apart, the mobile cellular license enjoins operators to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of all subscribers,” he retorted.

The Mobile License states in part: “The License shall maintain the confidentiality of, and refrain from using or disclosing, any confidential, personal and proprietary information obtained in the course of its business from any user, where such information originates from any such user information regarding usage of a Licensed Network or a Licensed  Service; or information received or obtained in connection with the operation of a Licensed Network or the provision of a Licensed Service; unless the customer has given his or her consent to such use or disclosure.”

Mr. Iddrisu assured Parliament that the NCA would sanction any telecom operator that flouts the law.

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Comments
  1. This is good news: “The fear of insecurity that your calls or conversation are being monitored or recorded by telecom operators or the National Security should be a thing of the past. ”

    but what has be come of the article below?

    Free Expression “Under Threat” In Ghana
    http://inwent-iij-lab.org/Weblog/2010/06/06/free-expression-%E2%80%9Cunder-threat%E2%80%9D-in-ghana/#more-2507
    June 6th, 2010
    Free expression has come under threat in the West African nation of Ghana as government working towards installing an Intelligence Signal Management System (ISMS), a monitoring device allegedly meant to undermine the right to free expression.
    The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) said in 2009, the Government of Ghana entered into an agreement with a telecommunication company, Global Voice Group, to install the device on the international gateways of companies engaged in mobile telephony in the country.
    This has compelled the pro-opposition pressure Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) to file a suit against the government at the Human Rights Court in Accra, capital of Ghana. The hearing of which will be on June 16, 2010. The pressure group is asking the Court to restrain the Ghanaian authorities from installing the ISMS.

    “AFAG is therefore asking the court to suspend this installation, until the authorities put in place mechanisms that would ensure strict compliance of the privacy laws in the country. The writ is demanding that the court declares the installation of the ISMS as “illegal”, “unconstitutional” and a violation of the fundamental human rights of the citizenry,” MFWA said.
    The Government of Ghana said the device would help minimize the loss of revenue from international calls. However, AFAG rejected the government position, saying the device could also be used in tapping into the Short Message System (SMS), online bank accounts, and internet communication of all mobile phone and internet users in Ghana.
    In its drive to ensure that the country’s privacy laws and free expression are respected, AFAG jointly sued the National Communications Authority (NCA), the country’s Attorney General, and all the mobile telephone operators in the country.
    “Under the agreement, the telephone companies are obliged to submit call data records when demanded by the NCA. This AFAG said will undermine the privacy laws of the country,” the region’s journalist organisation established to defend and promote the rights and freedom of the media and all forms of expression said on Wednesday.
    “One among peers”
    Ghana has been recognised as a symbol for democracy, good governance and freedom of expression among peers on the African Continent. Ghana has since repealed draconian laws in the country’s main legal document, the Constitution.
    There by paving the way for an Independent Media Commission that has been mandated to regulate the Media, though it has come under attack sometime ago as to how credible it is.
    Nonetheless, Accra’s move to install a monitoring device that is said to be aimed at “stifling” free expression seemed the country is derailing from the good name it has achieved for the wrong reasons.

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  2. Enjoyed reading this, very good stuff, thanks . “All of our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.” by Walt Disney.

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