The National Communications Authority (NCA), the state agency at the centre of the Executive Instrument (EI 63) saga, has failed to file a defence in the privacy right case before the High Court in Accra.
But all four other respondents Vodafone Ghana Limited, MTN, Kelni GVG and the Attorney General’s department have all filed their respective defense to the action initiated by a private legal practitioner, Francis Kwarteng Arthur.
The case was brought against the President, Vodafone, MTN, Kelni GVG and the NCA by a private legal practitioner, Mr Francis Kwarteng Arthur on April 6, 2020.
Mr Arthur has alleged that EI 63 and its implementation have violated the privacy rights of telecommunication subscribers.
In the EI, the President, Nana Akufo Addo has asked the NCA to collect the personal information of all the over 20 million mobile phone subscribers in Ghana for him.
According to Mr Arthur’s Affidavit to the Court, the particulars of subscriber personal information which the President requested includes “(a) a dump of subscriber database; (b) the subscriber cell reference data; (c) the unhashed subscriber mobile money transfer data; and (d) a dump mobile money merchant codes and addresses.”
The personal information is to help the government “to trace all contacts of persons suspected or actually affected by a public health emergency and identify the places visited by persons suspected of or actually affected by a public health emergency” the EI says.
However, there are concerns that the information has nothing to do with the stated objective of contact-tracing.
In their written address to the court, the lawyers of Mr Arthur argued that “the President’s choice of such a disproportionate measure to address the purpose of contact tracing is, with the greatest respect, unreasonable.”
The trial judge, Justice Stephen Oppong, one of the new judges appointed by the President early this year has set June 23, 2020 for the ruling on an injunction application.