The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it is ready to defend itself following a lawsuit filed by Law and Rights Awareness Initiative over regulations that allegedly grant warrantless access to telecom subscribers’ information, including call data.
The NCC, through its spokesman, Dr Henry Nkemadu, said this while speaking on Sunday, Nkemadu said he could not comment on the matter since it is subjudice. He, however, directed our correspondent to the Commission’s website for the purposes of drawing appropriate conclusions.
According to Law and Rights Awareness Initiative, Section 8 of Nigeria’s Enforcement Process Regulations permits police or other relevant authorities to obtain the “call data,” which includes the location, time, and numbers used in regular phone calls and SMS messages, without a judicial warrant. As an alternative, the body seeks a declaration from the court and an injunction requiring authorities to obtain a court order before accessing telecom subscribers’ information.
however, revealed that section 8 (2a) of the Enforcement Process regulations states that every licensee shall ” make available basic information that may be required by any relevant authority pursuant to section 146 of the Act upon presentation to the licensee a written request from such relevant authority and without any further assurance duly signed by a police officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or its equivalent in any of the relevant authorities.”
When asked if the NCC would deny granting access to telecom subscribers’ information through its regulations, Nkemadu fumed: “That’s very stupid of you. Are you trying to put words in my mouth? ”
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the suit claims that accessing the information “violates and will likely further violate” Nigerians’ constitutional right to privacy. The CPJ had earlier accused the Nigeria Police of using call data to lure and arrest journalists in three cases since 2017.