The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications is worried that a contract with Kelni GVG to, among other things block revenue leakages in the telecommunications sector may breach consumer data protection and privacy rules.

Head of Research and Communications at the Chamber, Derek Laryea said as custodians of consumer data and privacy, mobile operators are liable should any breaches occur.

Speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, Newsfile on Saturday, Mr Laryea explained that the Chamber is not against government’s monitoring of telcos, however, they want to ensure that none of such activities goes against the consumer’s rights to protection.

“So if you’re bringing in a company to come and connect, we need to have a discussion about their architecture…we need to look at where you’re doing the connection,” he said.

But current conversations, he explained, are “raising issues about the company they are bringing because there have been concerns surrounding  privacy because looking at the architecture, the company will be able to tell the location of customers, read text messages, see caller IDs and possibly listen in to people’s calls.”

This, for Mr Laryea must not be allowed. One of the surest ways to prevent this is for a conversation between the Chamber and Kelni GVG on how they can go about their monitoring without breach of consumer data and privacy.

He was, however, quick to add that the Chamber is not against monitoring of telecom companies.

“Our position has always been that it should be legal, compliance with data protection and privacy rules and it must not cost the consumer a dime.”

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The consumer, he noted, may not be bothered about who are monitoring traffic, but once that monitoring breaches their rights, the telecom companies will be held responsible.

“This is a technical conversation, it is not one that is assured verbally, so we need to go in there and try and see how best as technical people, we can be able to work and address these issues,” he added.

Mr Laryea agrees with IMANI Africa’s position that the Kelni GVG contract is unnecessary and that the National Communications Authority (NCA) can conduct the monitoring on its own.

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George Andah

But Deputy Communications Minister, George Andah says there will be no breach of consumer data or privacy, adding that the country’s data protection laws will be strictly adhered to.

He said although meetings have been held and opportunities provided for the Chamber to raise any objections it has with the contract, it has not.

He, therefore, finds it “unfortunate that he will say there has not been enough engagement on this.

“If they had issues and it was genuine they should have applied to the high court within seven days.”