Policy think tank, IMANI Africa is cautioning telecommunication companies of legal ramifications if they go ahead to plug into KELNI GVG’s database following suggestions in a statement by the Communications Ministry on Wednesday that they are already connected for trials.
According to the sector Ministry’s statement issued after a crunch meeting with the National Communications Authority (NCA) and CEOs of all Mobile Network Operators, physical installation of servers has been completed at various data centres of all the MNOs, and preparations towards testing and transmission are at various stages of completion.
The Ministry said technical officers of the implementing agency, National Communications Ministry (NCA) and Kelni GVG, have agreed to provide another layer of protection and security to address the concerns of the mobile network operators.
The statement signed by the Minister was silent on the threatened sanction against the Telcos if they failed to plug into KELNI GVG’s system by June 11, but explained that changes have been made to the original technical specifications following concerns by the Mobile Network Operators.
The Minister further assured that “a filtering server and mirroring installation have been included to ensure that only the signaling information needed for the purposes of traffic monitoring will be received by the NCA and GRA. No other information – either voice, SMS, video or data, will be received by Kelni GVG servers.”
But IMANI Africa which suspects a foul play, in a brief statement criticized the Ministry for failing to provide detailed responses to some critical issues raised by 22 Civil Society groups two weeks ago.
IMANI referred to the sector Ministry’s response which said: “we are in the process of locating the available records” as a joke.
”Folks, your ministry has signed $178m contract with your money to locate in real time, apparently stolen revenues by the telcos. And yet it cannot locate all the documents it signed for the deal after two weeks,” IMANI said in its statement.
It said credible information picked up suggests assigns and hirelings of Kelni-GVG have been visiting base stations of some telecommunications companies to forcibly connect their so-called monitoring devices into the billing nodes of the telcos.
It cautioned them to be mindful of the court action against KelniGVG and its agents and stay the efforts of any agent from interfering with their operational activity until the courts make a determination.
It concluded that the determination is the legal request of the MoC to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the kelniGVG -activity on the Telco systems will not be used to breach the privacy of consumers and users of telecom infrastructure in any manner whatsoever.