Parliament on Thursday bared its teeth at the proliferation of secret recordings, and cautioned the public that the practice, without consent or authorisation, was criminal and punishable.
Quoting Article 18 (2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Mr Eugene Boakye Antwi, MP for Subin reminded the nation that “no person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication, except in accordance with law as may be necessary in a free and democratic society for public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of the rights and freedoms.”
In a statement, widely supported by the House, Mr Antwi noted that, ”with the proliferation of various mobile phones and similar devices, the recording of telephone and other conversations has become the order of the day; and there are even apps which when downloaded on phones allows you to automatically record every phone conversation that the phone is used for.
“Day in day out, citizens are being subjected to horrible surprises when they wake up to hear their voices being played on air after a private conversations they have had with others, which is supposed to be confidential.”
The legislator also made a strong case on the rising incidence of sexual and pornographic material finding their way into social media space, defiling the rights of the parties involved.
He said for example, if a man or woman records a sexual episode with his partner and decides to use it to blackmail or to disgrace the partner because things are not going as expected was not right.
He said in most such recordings the blackmailer does not show his face while the partner’s face and private parts are evident for all to see.
Some of these matters, Mr Antwi noted, have led to suicide.
Also, some of these recordings are done without the knowledge or consent of the other party, and those that are done with the other party’s consent do not include the consent to disseminate the videos.
“This is getting out of hand, especially with the social media boom, which allows for easy penetration of the social space, “Mr Antwi complained, and queried further how many pornography offenders had been arrested and prosecuted by the police?
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, in a contribution said there should be a national position on the matter, as the practice of secret mobile phone recording has assumed unprecedented levels, and more so in the era of terrorism.
Mr Iddrisu called on the National Media Commission and the National Communications Authority to do more to help arrest the situation, stressing on updating, harmonisation and enforcement of legislation.
He said the phone as an “emergency instrument” of much value in terms of personal, corporate and national emergencies, but however indicated that, it must be used for profitable rather than damaging ends.
Majority Leader and MP for Suame Constituency, said he was impersonated on Facebook a few days ago and agreed on the need to fashion out appropriate legislation to combat the emerging threat.