Ghana: MFWA welcomes high court ruling ordering government to stop collecting personal data

A High Court in Ghana has ordered the state agency, National Communications Authority (NCA), to stop collecting personal information from mobile phone subscribers. The court also ordered the government to delete data already collected within fourteen days of the court judgement.

The judgment followed a legal action by a private legal practitioner, Francis Kwarteng Arthur, who affirmed that the collection of mobile phone subscriber data by the government breached the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843).

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, signed Executive Instrument (EI) 63 which is the Establishment Emergency Communications System Instrument, 2020.

The Executive Instrument, which was signed by the President on 23rd March 2020, referred to the powers bestowed on the President under Section 100 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775), which states that “The President may by executive instrument make written requests and issue orders to operators or providers of electronic communications networks or services requiring them to intercept communications, provide any user information or otherwise in aid of law enforcement or national security.”

The Executive Instrument indicated that “Ghana is committed to dealing with emergency situations especially public health emergencies.” Hence, there was an “urgent need to establish an emergency system to trace all contacts of persons suspected of or actually affected by a public health emergency and identify the places visited by the persons suspected of or actually affected by a public health emergency.”

The Executive Instrument, therefore, ordered network operators to put their network at the disposal of the state for mass dissemination of information to the public. It also ordered network operators to cooperate with the National Communications Authority Common Platform to provide information to state agencies in the case of an emergency including a public health emergency.

This order tasked the network operators to provide the following information to the National Communications Authority Common Platform, all caller and called numbers, merchant codes (for mobile money), mobile station international subscriber directory number codes and international mobile equipment identity codes and site location etc.

The Executive Instrument also made provision for an institution designated by the Minister of Communication and Digitization to establish a Central Subscriber Identity Module Register.

Raising privacy concerns, Francis Kwarteng Arthur sued the National Communications Authority, two telecommunications companies; MTN Ghana and Vodafone Ghana and the institution in charge of the Central Subscriber Identity Module Register, Kelni GVG in April 2020.

The private legal practitioner went to court to seek an order to quash the President’s Executive Instrument because the order “violated, are violating or are likely to violate” his “fundamental rights and freedoms.” He also appealed to the Court to place a perpetual injunction to restrain the government, Kelni GVG and the NCA “from using the Executive Instrument to procure the applicants’ personal information from” Vodafone Ghana, his network provider.

The Attorney General, however, said that the Executive Instrument was to help the government conduct contact tracing as part of efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The High Court presided over by Justice Rebecca Sittie, however, acknowledged that the Executive Instrument 63 violates people’s right to privacy.

The court ordered the NCA, Vodafone and Kelni GVG to each pay damages of GH¢20,000 to Arthur.

Under the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Regulations (L.I. 2006), before any individual can use a SIM card in Ghana, they must register the SIM cards with a network provider by providing their name, addresses and proof of identification.

Further, under the Section 8.2 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775), network operators or service providers may be authorised by the NCA to disclose lists of its subscribers, including directory access databases, for the publication of directories or for other purposes that the Authority may specify.

That is to say that if the government indeed wanted the contacts of people to do tracing, as the Attorney General indicated in his submission, the NCA could simply have used Section 8.2 of Act 775 to get the SIM registration details of subscribers from network operators or service providers. It is therefore curious as to why and to what practical end the government will request the network operators and service providers to gather additional data of ALL users of telecommunications services such as merchant codes (for mobile money), mobile station international subscriber directory number codes and international mobile equipment identity codes and site location, etc. In fact, the Section 100 of Act 775 that the government rode on to introduce EI 63 allows the President to order for the interception of communication or provision of a user information not information of ALL users.

It does appear that the government saw the COVID-19 emergency as an opportunity to arrogate more powers to collect user data and also give more authority to Kelni GVG to establish a common platform by connecting real-time to the entire switch of the physical network nodes of MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, AirtelTigo Ghana. Many Ghanaians had expressed concern that this was in breach of Article 12 of the 1992 Constitution which protects the privacy of all persons. It is also in breach of Section 73 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775) which mandates telecommunications companies to ensure that correspondence of their users is not intercepted or interfered with.

The MFWA, therefore, welcomes the Court ruling as a step in the direction of protecting individual rights to privacy in the digital space. We urge the government of Ghana and its ministries and agencies, and all other parties to comply with the court ruling. The MFWA further calls on citizens and civil society across West Africa to remain vigilant over the numerous restrictions imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 emergency in order to ensure that they are scaled back or scrapped as and when appropriate.

Vision Impact Institute Applauds UN Resolution on Vision

Resolution highlights impact of good vision to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

DALLAS, Aug. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Vision Impact Institute applauds the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Vision for Everyone: accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals resolution. A major step forward for vision correction, this resolution commits the international community to improving vision for 1.1 billion people living with preventable vision loss by 2030.

Vision Impact Institute logo

This topic is timely as societies cope with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of:

  • Children’s Education – The connection between vision and learning is crucial, as eighty percent of learning is visual. Yet, with increased digital learning, children are experiencing vision changes such as myopia and eye strain from more screen time and less time outdoors.
  • Road Safety – With up to 90% of the information needed for safety on the road coming through the eyes, good vision is a critical factor for safer mobility. This becomes more important as workers return to office buildings and businesses.
  • Gender Equity – Research suggests that 55% of people with vision loss are women and girls. Women can also face stigmas when it comes to wearing glasses. This burden, compounded with the burden that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately placed on women, highlights the need for their good vision care.

“This resolution is a much-needed step to ensure that good vision is accessible to all,” says Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director, Vision Impact Institute. “As vision advocates, we have worked for years in partnership with others to ensure that vision is pivotal in the global development conversation. This unanimous decision is a testimony to the power of partnerships and coalitions that believe good vision is key to unlocking human potential.”

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About the Vision Impact Institute (VII)
The VII’s mission is to raise awareness of the importance of vision correction and protection to make good vision a global priority. Its Advisory Board is comprised of four independent international experts: Pr. Clare Gilbert (United Kingdom), Mr. Allyala Nandakumar (United States),   Dr. Serge Resnikoff (Switzerland), and Dr. Wang Wei (China).

The Vision Impact Institute is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which receives support from the Vision for Life Fund from Essilor, the world leader in ophthalmic optics. The Vision Impact Institute hosts a unique database of research at  visionimpactinstitute.org .

Contact:
Andrea Kirsten-Coleman
Global Communications Manager
andrea.kirsten@visionimpactinstitute.org

Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/832635/Vision_Impact_Institute_Logo.jpg

FXCM June Single Share & Stock Baskets Report

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Aug. 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FXCM Group, LLC (“FXCM Group’ or ‘FXCM’), the leading international provider of online foreign exchange trading, CFD trading, cryptocurrencies and related services, is today releasing its data of most popular instruments for the month of June in its Single Share CFD and proprietary Stock Basket product lines.

FXCM offers fractional single share CFD trading with no commission fees** on leading companies from the US, UK, France, Germany and Hong Kong, whilst FXCM’s stock basket products combine the shares of multiple companies from one sector into a single tradeable instrument. The company currently boasts a portfolio of 14 stock baskets. The list of companies and weightings is available on FXCM’s stock basket website: https://www.fxcm.com/za/stock-baskets/

NVIDIA’s climb towards $1000 a share saw it knock Apple down from the second most heavily traded share in June, as Amazon also retook its spot among the monthly leaders. Waning post-IPO interest in Coinbase saw it tumble out of the top 10 together with Google, which finds itself out of the top 10 for the very first time in over 12 months.

On the stock baskets side, there was not much change among the leaders, as China Tech, China Ecommerce and FAANG continued to hold the top three spots.

The Hong Kong based ATMX basket made its first appearance in the top 10 since being launched in May at the expense of the Work From Home basket, which saw the biggest decline as companies worldwide slowly try to return to pre-pandemic workspaces.

Volume
Rank
Monthly Rank
Change
Company Symbol
1 Tesla Inc TSLA.us
2 ↑4 NVIDIA Corporation NVDA.us
3 ↓1 Apple Inc AAPL.us
4 ↑3 Amazon.com, Inc AMZN.us
5 New to Top 30 BP plc BP.uk
6 ↓2 Boeing Co BA.us
7 ↑18 Zoom Video Communications Inc ZM.us
8 Baidu Inc ADR Class A BIDU.us
9 New to Top 30 Palantir Technologies Inc PLTR.us
10 New to Top 30 Airbnb Inc ABNB.us
Volume
Rank
Monthly Rank
Change
Sector Symbol
1 Chinese Tech CHN.TECH
2 Chinese E-Commerce CHN.ECOMM
3 Big US Tech FAANG
4 ↑1 Airlines AIRLINES
5 ↓1 Cannabis CANNABIS
6 ↑3 Esports & Gaming ESPORTS
7 ↑3 Biotechnology BIOTECH
8 ↓1 US Banks US.BANKS
9 ↑4 Big China Tech ATMX
10 ↓2 Casinos CASINOS

Past performance and popularity are not indicators of future results.

Rank is derived from FXCM Client Volume.

**When executing customers’ trades, FXCM can be compensated in several ways, which include, but are not limited to: spreads, charging fixed lot-based commissions at the open and close of a trade, adding a markup to the spreads it receives from its liquidity providers for certain account types, and adding a markup to rollover, etc.

About FXCM:
FXCM is a leading provider of online foreign exchange (FX) trading, CFD trading, and related services. Founded in 1999, the company’s mission is to provide global traders with access to the world’s largest and most liquid market by offering innovative trading tools, hiring excellent trading educators, meeting strict financial standards and striving for the best online trading experience in the market. Clients have the advantage of mobile trading, one-click order execution and trading from real-time charts. In addition, FXCM offers educational courses on FX trading and provides trading tools, proprietary data and premium resources. FXCM Pro provides retail brokers, small hedge funds and emerging market banks access to wholesale execution and liquidity, while providing high and medium frequency funds access to prime brokerage services via FXCM Prime. FXCM is a Leucadia Company.

Forex Capital Markets Limited: FCA registration number 217689 (www.fxcm.com/uk)

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.

70% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FXCM EU LTD: CySEC license number 392/20 (www.fxcm.com/eu)

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FXCM Australia Pty. Limited: AFSL 309763.You can sustain a total loss of your deposited funds. The products may not be suitable for all investors. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. If you decide to trade products offered by FXCM AU, you must read and understand the Financial Services GuideProduct Disclosure Statement, and Terms of Business on www.fxcm.com/au.

FXCM South Africa (PTY) Ltd: FSP No 46534 (www.fxcm.com/za). Our service includes products that are traded on margin and carry a risk of losses in excess of your deposited funds. The products may not be suitable for all investors. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved.

FXCM Markets Limited: Losses can exceed deposited funds. (www.fxcm.com/markets).

Media contact:
Chatsworth Communications
+44 (0) 20 7440 9780
fxcm@chatsworthcommunications.com

Acting Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane visits De Aar District Hospital, Northern Cape, 03 Aug

The Acting Minister of Health, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi, will on Tuesday 03 August 2021 visit the Pixley ka Seme District in the Northern Cape to assess the province’s management of COVID-19 and its vaccine rollout status.

The Minister joined by the MEC of Health, Mr Marupung Lekwene, will visit De Aar District Hospital. This will include a walk-about at the vaccination sites.

Source: Government of South Africa

Regional Bureau for West and Central Africa Education Update, 2020-2021 School Year (July 2021)

A region marked by rising insecurity and large-scale displacement

The West and Central Africa (WCA) region hosts over 11 million persons of concern to UNHCR, including 7 million internally displaced people and 1,4 million refugees, of whom more than 55% are children.

Forced displacement is on the rise as increasing violence, human right violations and armed conflicts compound existing fragility and political instability, the effects of climate change, the lack of human development opportunities and educational attainment, and the disastrous impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on livelihoods and economic prospects.

The recurrence of humanitarian emergencies adds to already precarious contexts and prolonged crisis situations, leaving little hope and opportunities for the youth, who make up 65% of the population in the region.

The security situation across the WCA region has been evolving in an alarming manner and children and adolescents have been severely affected by the crisis.

In particularly vulnerable regions such as the Central Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, the right of children to education is constantly challenged. Armed groups have directly targeted school buildings, teachers and pupils through physical attacks, threats, abductions, and killings.

Fear and school closures have contributed to families’ decisions to flee to safer areas, mostly urban and semi-urban centres where education capacities have become overburdened. Neither school infrastructure nor teacher recruitment has grown in pace with new arrivals of families to displacement hotspots.

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees