Information minister Patricia Kaliati has queried the rationale behind mobile phone operators decision to keep on blocking the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) from using the spy machine yet in other countries the situation is different.
Macra is failing to use the high-tech call tracking system b known in the eyes of the public as MACRA’s ‘spy machine, following the operators decision to block the use of the machine.
The mobile phone operators have obtained a court injunction restraining Macra from using the multimillion Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (Cirms) saying it will be used to spy on their customers but the government says it will be used to monitor the quality of services the operators offer to their clients.
“These operators are in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia and other countries in the region where this machine is used. They have not taken these governments to court, why are they doing it here in Malawi,” said Kaliati.
She said the government will push in courts to have the injunctions vacated so that the machine is in use for the advantage of Malawians.
Kaliati said issues of high tariffs, drop of lines and other issues would be history once the machine is put in use.
Macra director general Symon Itaye said his organization cannot do anything unless the injunction is vacated.
“We are stopped by the courts from using the machine. We are waiting for a court ruling on the matter,” he said.
Judiciary spokesman Mlenga Mvula could not say when the ruling will be made.
Before going to the Supreme Court of Appeal, the High court in Zomba lifted a stay order which TNM had obtained to stop MACRA from implementing the CIRMS machine.
In its ruling, the court agreed with MACRA that TNM had indeed rushed to court, and consequently lifted the stay order and initial stages of implementing the CIRMS had already commenced starting with requests for data from operators.
Macra, which procured the monitoring system in 201 at USD6.8 million, from US-based Agilis International, contracted the supplier to operate it on the Authority’s behalf, because it has not technical capacity to handle it.
On constitutionality, the Supreme Court held that the use of the Cirms was a lawful limitation to the right to privacy, information and freedom of expression.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :