Bright Simons, the Vice President of IMANI-Africa in charge of Research and Education, has made allegations against the government of Ghana, claiming that in 2021, they paid over $2 million to an Israeli spy company.
According to Simons, the payment was made under the pretext of combating cybercrime, but it involved a significant sum being transferred to Rayzone, an Israeli company specializing in spy technology. He voiced his concerns on Twitter, stating that Rayzone’s expertise includes tapping phones, snooping on people, and utilizing advanced spyware.
Notably, in May 2023, a report by Bloomberg accused Rayzone Group of misusing information initially intended for marketers. The report revealed that the company was assisting authorities in tracking individuals through their mobile phones using a product called Echo.
The investigation conducted by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the UK Guardian exposed how Rayzone exploited a loophole in a mobile phone network, enabling their clients to geolocate mobile phone users worldwide. This revelation has raised alarm among data protection activists who argue that Rayzone’s actions are enabling governments to violate the privacy of the general public.
It’s worth noting that previous government officials had faced legal consequences for mishandling a similar deal in the past. Bright Simons’ claims and the reported activities of Rayzone have brought attention to the potential risks associated with the government’s involvement with such spy technology companies.