NCA, Telcos, Sued Over Obnoxious SIM Re-Registration

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has been sued, along with the three major telecommunications companies in the country, over the SIM card re-registration exercise currently ongoing.

Private legal practitioner Francis Kwarteng Arthur is praying the High Court in Accra to estop the collection of personal data of subscribers for the re-registration exercise.

Lawyer Kwarteng Arthur argues that the stoppage of the exercise is necessary to enforce his fundamental human rights to administrative justice, to speech, to information, and to privacy.

Meanwhile, he is also seeking, an interlocutory injunction to halt the process until the final determination of the case.

He wants the court to “suspend the collection, storage or use of the Applicant’s personal information including his fingerprint, iris or facial pattern record or other biometric data or particulars and of other subscribers, pending the determination of the issues on the originating motion on notice.”

The suit was filed on Tuesday, November 23rd with the NCA as 1st Respondent, Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited operators of Vodafone, as 2nd Respondent, Scancom PLC operators of MTN, as 3rd Respondent and AirtelTigo Ghana Limited, operators of Airtel Tigo, 4th Respondent.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General was put on notice.

The Communications Ministry headed by Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has given Ghanaians up to March next year to register their sim cards or risk having their sim cards blocked.

Many have criticized the directive since the Telcos already have their information. However, the document for the re-registration is the Ghana Card, an indication that the move is to ensure the card becomes the basis for telecommunications identity platform for all cardholders.

The applicant is asking the court to “make an order directing at the 1st Respondent/Respondent to suspend its notice to Mobile network operators directing, instructing or requesting them to procure, store or use the Applicant’s personal information (including the fingerprint of other subscribers), pending the determination of the issues in the originating motion on notice”.

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