Mr Francis Kwarteng Arthur, the lawyer who has dragged the President, the National Communication Authority, Kelni GVG, Vodafone Ghana and MTN to court over allegations of privacy right violations, has petitioned Vodafone Ghana’s mother company – the Vodafone Group UK.
According to Mr Arthur’s solicitors, Archbridge Solicitors, the petition was necessitated by the “nonchalant posturing” of Vodafone Ghana in the middle of the most extensive threat to privacy rights in Ghana’s history and one of the most extensive in the world.
“While other telecommunication network or service providers, like MTN, have vehemently contested the request as overly disproportionate or even irrelevant to the stated purpose and, thereby, a threat to subscribers’ right to privacy, your Ghana office has, at best, remained completely silent and unconcerned about the issue”, the petition states in its paragraph 2(e).
It may be recalled that the President issued an Executive Instrument (EI 63) in March 2020, in which he directed all telecommunication network or service providers (including Vodafone Ghana) to supply the personal information of subscribers to him through Kelni GVG, a private company.
According to the preamble of EI 63, the personal information will be used 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”.
However, Mr Arthur has challenged the President’s order in the EI as a violation of the rights of subscribers to privacy since “the President’s choice of such a disproportionate measure to address the purpose of contact tracing is, with the greatest respect, unreasonable.” This was contained in the suit he brought to the Human Rights Court, Accra, in April, 2020.
Similarly, the telecommunication giant, MTN, holds the view that the request that was made on them “constituted a disproportionate invasion of privacy” as the request has “absolutely no nexus with the purpose” of covid-19 contact tracing.
The lawyers have given an ultimatum to Vodafone Group UK to get Vodafone Ghana to not only speak to the allegation or address the issues.
“We wish to notify you (and notice is hereby given) that should you, within 14 days of receiving this letter, fail to commit, unequivocally, to meeting all the above demands, we shall, without further recourse to you, proceed and resort to other lawful avenues for resolving this matter with the aim, among others, of remedying any injuries that the conduct of Vodafone may cause to our Client,” the lawyers advised.