Sim Card Registration against Human Liberties
Written by Kwabena Amankwah Friday, 29 January 2010 15:24
The plan by the Mills-led National Democratic Congress government to acquire telecommunication monitoring equipment to monitor calls in the country is against human dignity and privacy. It also constitutes unnecessary control and curtailment of the rights of the citizenry.
These were the sentiments expressed by Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and Franklin Cudjo, Executive Director of Danquah Institute and Executive Director of IMANI Center for Policy Education respectively when they addressed participants at a seminar on Liberalism and Liberal Solutions on Thursday.
The seminar, attended by the young intelligentsia, was part of activities marking this year’s “Liberal Thursday.” The seminar was organized by Friedrich Nuamann STIFTUNG.
In the view of the liberal thinkers, it is not appropriate for the government to compel the telecom operators to “send all signaling through the ‘black box’ owned by the government, which will monitor all call traffic.”
“The exercise will place a limit on individual liberties and human dignity since our privacy will be invaded without any just cause. The exercise is not important because we are not at war,” Franklin Cudjo contended.
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a legal practitioner, challenged the legal basis for the demands by the National Security to carry out the SIM registration exercise, which will permit unrestricted access to citizens’ details as far as their interactions on phone are concerned.
According Ace Ankomah, also a legal practitioner, if the registration is allowed, “government will know who we are, who we call, and how often we call, and the time we are calling.”
Both Mr Otchere-Darko and Mr CudjoE accused the ruling National Democratic Congress and the main opposition New Patriotic Party of what they termed “ideological rhetorics”, explaining that both parties have never shown any serious commitment to their respective social democratic and liberal democratic ideological positions. The situation, according to Mr Cudjo, has been occasioned by sheer populism.
Gabby, however, agreed that there would not be absolute commitment to ideologies, since that could promote anarchy (in the case of absolute liberalism) and needless restrictions of the citizenry (in the case of absolute social democracy). “There is always a point of convergence,” he underscored.
Other speakers at the seminar were Yofi Grant, Executive Director at DataBank, and Pius Enam Hadzide, aspiring NPP National Youth Organiser, who respectively spoke on the topics Liberalism and Market Economy and Introduction into the Liberal Ideology.
Mr Grant, extolling the virtues inherent in liberalism, explained that “liberalism allows people to exploit their potentials to create wealth and use it in a way that positively affects the lives of others.” He added: “wealth is good; when you create wealth, you create opportunities for others.”
He attacked the ideology of Social Democracy, insisting it is not appropriate for the nation. “Why should a little country like Ghana share the little we have for all? Why don’t we create more before we share?” he asked.
“The world has changed faster in the last 10 years than the previous 200 years, all due to liberalization,” Mr Grant underscored.
Pius Enam Hadzide urged his colleague youth activists to learn more about the party’s ideology so that they will always be in the position to defend it when it comes under attack.
“Everybody in Ghana , including members of the NDC, always wants to own property. That is the idea behind the principle of property owning democracy. But we have allowed our political opponents to attack and bastardize this noble principle espoused by J. B Danquah, which they also believe in, because we are not in the position to defend it,” he lamented.