Can the Telcos Record our Private Conversations What is the Position of the Law?

10,207 total views, 2 views today

MY THOUGHTS:

There was a publication in the Ghanaian Times newspaper about the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu securing a court order to get ‘audio recordings’ of MP Mahama Ayariga and a GRA official from December 1st to January 6th 2019 from MTN.

My first reaction as wow! How is that possible? I asked myself Is it plausible or legal for telecoms service providers to provide my call (audio) records to a third party?

If yes, does it mean our calls are recorded without our knowledge?

In my state of perplexity and worry, I chanced upon a post by Barnabas Nii Laryea IV, who was once the Head of Research and Communications at the Telecom Chamber, was awarded Young ICT Ambassador at the 7th Ghana Information Technology and Telecoms Awards for his contribution to the telecom industry, and later became the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber.

In his post on his Facebook page, he clarified the erroneous reportage by the journalist. According to him, their checks with the OSP indicates they asked for CALL RECORDS and not AUDIO chats and they said their request was founded in law which is the Electronic Transactions Act, 2008 section 103

He went on to state emphatically that “no Telcos and in this country have the server or the capability to record 20million subscribers 24/7, but what is available per his knowledge is Call Logs and CDR (Call Detail Records) example the two numbers calling each other, day, time, duration spoken, etc.”

Now let us look at what the section 103 says:

PROVIDER TO KEEP LOGS AND RECORDS

103. A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall keep logs and records of the:
(a) name,
(b) electronic source and destination address,
(c) billing records if any,
(d) duration of service to a subscriber or a customer,
(e) types of services and related logs of the subscribers, and
(f) activities which take place on its electronic platform as may be reasonably appropriate for a period of twelve months.

Now if you read 103(f) careful, you will notice that the law allows recording by default as may be reasonably appropriate for a period of twelve months.

What it means per my understanding is that the Telcos per this ACT MUST/CAN record my conversation and stores it for at least 12 months, for a reasonable foreseeable offense or for the purposes of assisting in future criminal investigations.

It is therefore not correct for one to say that the Telcos don’t have the mandate to RECORD our conversations. It is also disingenuous for one to say that the Telcos only RECORDS Call Logs and CDR (Call Detail Records).

Let me provide you with further and better particulars on this assertion, because, let ask ourselves, If there is no recording or storage, then upon what basis will the court make an order for disclosure?

According to the CEO of Telcom Chamber, Barnabas Nii Laryea IV “the solution to record exists but it can only be done with a court order as there is NO EXITING LAW that allows Telcos to be recording or intercepting calls of their customers.”

I bet to differ Sir.

Look at the Electronic Transactions Act, 2008, Section 101 (1) (2) and 102 (1) (2)

Contents of electronic communications in electronic storage

101. (1) A Court may order the disclosure of the contents of an elec- tronic communication that is in transit, held, maintained or has been in electronic storage in an electronic communications system by an electronic
communication service provider.

(2) The Court shall not make an order unless it is satisfied that the disclosure is relevant and necessary for investigative purposes or is in the interest of national security.

Disclosure of electronic information

102. (1) Except as provided in this Act, a provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service shall not disclose a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to a customer of an electronic communication service to any person without the consent of the subscriber or customer.
(2) A provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service shall disclose a record or other information related to a subscriber or customer to a law enforcement agency
(a) on receipt of a Court order for the disclosure.

I asked the question, If there is no recording or storage, then upon what basis will the court make an order for disclosure?

Now read section 101 (1)

101. (1) A Court may order the disclosure of the contents of an elec- tronic communication that is in transit, held, maintained or has been in electronic storage in an electronic communications system by an electronic
communication service provider.

The wording in 101 (1) says that the disclosure that is in transit, held, maintained or HAS BEEN IN ELECTRONIC STORAGE in an electronic communication system…..

Sir, I find it very strange when you argued strongly that there is “NO EXITING LAW” that allows the Telcos to record our conversation.

Kindly come again boss!

Finally, can you assure us again that the Telcos are not recording our conversations, although the ACT mandates them to do so—– and if they are doing so, how safe is our recorded conversations?

Thank you.

By Nii Amarh Amarteifio

Ghana News Online

The primary function of GhanaNewsOnline.com.gh is to gather, process and distribute news about Ghana and Africa to the World. To serve as a News Agency with the mandate to present complete, in-depth objective and impartial information, news, and features rooted in investigative journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *