Telecom Chamber CEO worried over subscriber privacy on GVG Kelni/NCA CPM

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

Telecoms subscribers in Ghana will soon risk having their conversations over their mobile handsets recorded, monitored, or tap into by Kelni GVG using a new installed Common Platform Monitoring authorised by the regulator NCA.

Although such monitoring activities are prescribed in the Communication Service Tax (CST) Amendment Act, 2013 (Act 864), the Ghana Telecommunications Chamber, the body that represents almost all the telcos in the country says it’s not comfortable with the current architecture of the Common Platform Monitoring (CPM).

According to the Chamber the new Common Platform Monitoring (CPM) does not provide network subscribers or customers the privacy of their communication that the constitution guarantees them and that  the architecture from the NCA and Kelni GVG do not conform to certain design and connection standards prescribed in the Communication Service Tax (CST) Amendment Act ( Act 864).

A statement made available to Biztechafrica and signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Kenneth Ashigbey in Accra on Tuesday, noted that the legal framework does not only establishes the basis for monitoring activities of telcos but also prescribes certain designed and connection standards for the monitoring systems; and reiterated that the monitoring conducted through the Common Platform Monitoring (CPM) should be done in accordance with the very law that empowers the NCA and GRA to monitor telcos.

Outlining some of the challenges Mr. Ashigbey disclosed that the current architecture seeks to connect beyond the equivalent point in the network where the network providers billing systems are connected.

He said he trusted that the monitoring mechanism had the capability to actively or passively record, monitor, or tap into the content of any incoming or outgoing electronic communications traffic such as voice and if not check could  risk exposing content of voice traffic.

“The voice transaction damp for the revenue assurance tool should be enough without risking individual customer privacy. We are minded that the law does not talk about intent but capability, which the current architecture processes,” he stated.

“As an industry we are committed to collaborate with the NCA and align on an architecture that will achieve its purpose and also remain compliant and is acceptable by all stakeholders. The mobile industry is fully persuaded that there is opportunity to continue to collaborate with the NCA/KelnliGVG to ensure that the Common Platform meets the legal requirement of the law; preserve the security of our networks as well as ensure the privacy of our customers whilst assuring government visibility of any revenues due it,” it added.

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