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NDC's Deputy IT Director alleges security threats in govt's 'Tap n' Go' bus monitoring system

Yayra Koku, a deputy director of IT for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has raised significant data and national security concerns regarding the newly launched Bus Monitoring system championed by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

NDC's IT Director alleges security threats in govt's 'Tap and Go' bus monitoring system

The system, unveiled by Vice President Bawumia as part of the Tap and Go Transport Service initiative, aims to digitize and enhance efficiency within Ghana's public transport sector.

"Today's launching of the Tap n’ Go Transport service for Metro Mass Inter-City Services, is our latest digital initiative for the transport sector. It is a momentous occasion in our journey towards a more efficient and digitally empowered transportation system," Dr Bawumia said.

However, Koku's scrutiny has cast doubt on the integrity and security of the system.

Vice President Bawumia launched the Tap and Go Transport Service at the Head Office of Metro Mass Limited in Accra on Monday, February 19. This initiative marks the first integration of an intra and inter-city public transport service onto a unique digital platform, offering commuters a convenient digital card preloaded with cash for fare payments.

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In a scathing critique of the system, Koku highlighted the potential risks associated with the use of the Bus Monitoring system, particularly its alleged reliance on software with Chinese origins. He revealed that upon closer inspection, he identified the IP address of the monitoring system (120.79.58.1:8088/808gps/login.html), which he claims points to Chinese hosting and infrastructure.

Koku expressed his concerns, stating: "When I first saw the picture yesterday, I decided to zoom in to see if I could see the IP address of Bawumia's Bus Monitoring system, which was launched yesterday. Fortunately for me, the cameraman captured the IP address, allowing me to see."

He further added, "Consider China's mass surveillance and human rights violations. Anyone who boards the new bus is automatically monitored by CCTV, and their facial images are sent directly to Chinese servers. We do not know what the retention policy is with these companies. Data privacy concerns? Just to name a few."

According to Koku, the software powering the Bus Monitoring system is readily available for purchase and use, raising questions about the government's assertion that it was developed domestically. He expressed concerns over the implications of entrusting national security and data privacy to a system potentially linked to China, known for its mass surveillance and human rights violations.

Koku's revelations have sparked debate regarding the government's due diligence in assessing the security risks associated with the Bus Monitoring system. He questioned whether the Data Protection Authority conducted thorough evaluations prior to the system's commissioning or if political expediency took precedence over security considerations.

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In a social media post on Tuesday, February 20, Koku emphasized the public availability of the system's raw IP address, further heightening concerns over potential vulnerabilities and privacy breaches.

If the assertions by Yayra Koku are anything to go by, then they underscored the need for transparency and rigorous scrutiny in the implementation of digital initiatives, particularly those involving sensitive data and national security.

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