The Director of Legal at the National Communication Authority, Dr Poku Adusei, has dispelled allegations that the biodata of Ghanaian telecommunication subscribers collected in the ongoing SIM re-registration exercise is being managed by a private entity.
He was responding to a publication by GhanaWeb in which a vice president of IMANI Center for Policy Education, Selorm Banttie, accused the government of entrusting the biodata of Ghanaians in the hands of a Kenyan company.
In a Facebook post, Dr Adusei pointed out that contrary to the assertions of the IMANI vice president, the data being collected in the ongoing SIM re-registration exercise is not stored or managed by telecommunication networks or the company responsible for developing the application being used for the exercise.
The NCA Director of Legal further noted that the centralized database for the collected biodata is rather hosted by the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) and that the government agency is duly designated by law to manage the data of subscribers.
“For your information and education, the SIM registration data is not stored by any private entity. Telcos don’t store the Central data collected. The App developer doesn’t store the data either. The centralised database is rather hosted by the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) at the National Data Centre. NITA is a govt agency duly designated in accordance with law to be the custodian of the Central SIM Register. Stop the deceit!” he stated.
The government of Ghana has asked telecommunication service providers to collect the biodata of all subscribers by end of March 2022.
According to the government, subscribers who fail to register their SIM cards using the Ghana card risk having their numbers deactivated at the end of the deadline.
The exercise which has been fraught with challenges has led to several concerns being raised by critics.
Selorm Branttie, a vice president with IMANI Centre for Policy Education (IMANI Africa), alleged that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has entrusted the biometric data of Ghanaians into the hands of a Kenyan company.
According to him, the said company’s track record in biometric data systems is registering a single company, Soy Farmers, in the country.
In a post sighted by GhanaWeb on his Facebook timeline, Branttie explained, “After the complaints being made by agents of the SIM card registration activity and the bottlenecks, I decided this evening to figure out exactly what was going on.
“This post here reveals some very interesting, if not worrying information that I believe every Ghanaian should be concerned about, regardless of your race, creed or loyalty,” he said.
Read Selorm Branttie’s comment on the SIM re-registration exercise below:
The President of Ghana, HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has entrusted his biometric data into the hands of a Kenyan company whose only track record in biometric data systems is registering Soy Farmers in a county in Kenya.
After the complaints being made by agents of the SIM card registration activity and the bottlenecks, I decided this evening to figure out exactly what was going on. This post here reveals some very interesting, if not worrying information that I believe every Ghanaian should be concerned about, regardless of your race, creed or loyalty.
1. The App that is used for the SIM Re-registration exercise is called the Ghana SIM Registration Agent App. You can find it on Google Play Store with a search with the same name.
2. In the attached pictures, the first picture displays the name on the Google App store, as well as the number of downloads. Interestingly, you will also see several reviews of the App, almost all of which tell the frustrations of the users while trying to register poor SIM card owners.
3. A further look down will show the details of the developer. Usually, there will be details about the developer, their offices, their address and others. In this case, for whatever reason, there is only an email address, [email protected]
4. Refer to the pictures. There is no website that exists for Ghanaid.com. Feel free to check the website on your browser, and take a screenshot for reference. It is a blank white page. Please refer to attached pictures as of today 06-01-2021
5. A check on a universal database on the registrars of the ghanaid.com website reveals more. The WHOIS raw data is also exhibited in the attached pictures. The website was registered on the 27th of July 2021. Coincidentally, the Minister of Communication announced in August the re-registration activity with the view to reduce and eradicate fraud and outlined a time period from October to March 31st 2022. Exhibits attached.
6. The Company that Registered the Ghanaid Website is called Pitstop Technologies and the registrant is from Kenya. The details of the registrant are on the WHOIS Raw Data. A check on LinkedIn however shows the registrar as the CEO of another company altogether with only 2 mentions of him linked to Pitstop Technologies online. One is about a litigation with another company for branding activity and the other is about Registration of Soy Farmers. Hold on, we will get back to that soon… Exhibits are attached.
7. There is no website for pitstop technologies limited anywhere. Google it. Search high and low for it. Go everywhere. I stand to be corrected with a national apology wearing sackcloth if you find it between today and tomorrow. A further search for Pitstop Technologies reveals a company with a similar name registered in Malta in 2018. That company’s registration status is however invalid since last year. Exhibits attached.
8. The other mention of Pitstop Technologies is an article in February 2019 about an exercise to register biometrically Soy Farmers in Gishu County in Kenya. That is the only existing track record of the company’s ability to biometrically register anyone on any database. For reference, Usain Gishu County map in Kenya is also attached.
The initiative was called Mkulima initiative and the Facebook and Twitter handles, engagement and following which are the only evidence of that biometric program are attached here for you all to see.
9. The whole country of Ghana, with its 42 million active SIM registrations, has been entrusted with a company that registered Soy Farmers in a county in Kenya in 2019 with no website.
Comparatively, the Electoral Commission which was doing around 18 million voter registrations used companies that are already in the space and known for undertaking these activities, for which I dont need to mention names because they are not the focus of the post.
From the President down to the beggar on the street with a phone, all of us, our biodata and our fingerprint data is being handled by a company without a website, with no references, no track record, no identifiable activities anywhere in the world but a tiny county the size of Ga East District to handle biometrics.
10. The Ministry of Communications and Digitalization has handed the whole nation’s activities to this organization or entity, as far as the digital trail goes.
There are many questions we should begin to ask about the technical implementation considerations that went on with an activity like this, which I will ask in a Part 2 tomorrow morning so I dont flood you with too much data.
For now, chew on the fact that our data is in the hands of literal amateurs.
Do what you wish with the info while we visit this issue again tomorrow.