Samuel Nartey George, the MP for Ningo Prampram has accused the NPP administration of abusing the Executive Instrument (E.I.) that allows personal mobile telecommunication data to be collected in the fight against the novel Coronavirus.
According to him, the incumbent party is using the data gathered for political gain, which is outside what is required for the fight against the novel Coronavirus.
Executive Instrument 63 was issued by the President about six months ago under the Imposition of Restriction Act to help the Government of Ghana trace persons who may have contracted COVID-19.
The Data Protection Commission appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday, stated that the Commission was working with some state agencies in order to prevent the abuse of rights and privacy of customers.
Sam George, however, responded that this was not happening as the government has illegally accessed data belonging to customers.
“The Executive Director made the point that they were not working with all the implementers of E.I 63. That should be a source of worry for us that clearly some state agencies have access to our data that are not under the supervision of the Data Protection Commission,” he said.
The MP is therefore seeking for the revocation of the Executive Instrument as he raises questions with the basis of the EI’s formulation.
Sam George argued that there was some incoherence between Article 18 (2) of the Constitution and Section 100 of the Electronic Communication Act (ECA).
Section 100 of the ECA states: “The President may by executive instrument make written requests and issue orders to operators or providers of electronic communications networks or services requiring them to intercept communications, provide any user information or otherwise in aid of law enforcement or national security.”
Sam George indicated that the Act is with respect to “a user.”
“So when you have EI63 that then gives a state agency under the direction of the President […..] access to all users’ data, that is not what the constitution says…so at the end of the day you realise that EI63 is an affront to the constitution and the act of parliament.”
But Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the communications minister, in response told Joy News: “Some people with diabolical and devious minds have sat there and conjured all kinds of fanciful scenarios and assumed that everybody thinks like them. We are focused on fighting this pandemic with science and data.”
She explained that the said EI is still relevant for the continuous fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“What the law is requiring is the merchant code of those who are using mobile money to be also included in the information that EI 63 is collecting. How is that information going to help anybody’s political campaign?”
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