Malawi roll out ‘spy machine’: Macra can now listen people’s phone conversations

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has rolled out in full swing the controversial Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management Systems (Cirms) machine, widely known as the ‘spy’ machine that is also used to listen to subscribers’ private conversations .

Itaye: Spy machine is operational

Soon after it t was known that Macra has acquired the machine, communications operators in the country went up in arms, fighting against the acquisition claiming that the machine was meant to spy over people’s phone conversations, a position which Macra and government disputed.

But the industry’s regulator no longer dispute that as the implantation of the ‘spy machine’ coincides with manadatory SIM Card registration for all phone users by March 31 deadline.

Macra director general Godfrey Itaye confimed the regulator is now implementing the software.

Itaye  added that with Cirms in use, the regulator will be able to get revenue assurance from operators as well as having firsthand information on quality of service from phone service providers.

To operators, Itaye said Cirms will enable them to realise increased revenues as bypass calls will be put in check with less frequency interference while at the same time generating more revenue to the government.

TNM obtained a stay order stopping Macra from implementing the system, arguing Macra’s decision to implement Cirms was unreasonable because there was no legal framework for its implementation. Macra in October 2015 was given a go-ahead by the High Court in Zomba to proceed with implementation and use of the Cirms to monitor mobile phone operators.

Macra argues that Cirms will improve its regulatory monitoring functions in four key areas of quality service, revenue assurance, fraud management, and spectrum allocation and management.

Cirms is expected to generate $3 million (about K2.07 billion at current exchange rate) for Macra in annual revenue.

Macra bought the machine from Agilis International Inc in 2010 at $6 142 608 (about K2.8 billion) and has since  re-engaged the supplier who recommended the upgrading of the Cirms’ hardware and software due to technical advancement.

The supplier revised the contractual price from $6 142 608 to $13 871 969 (about K6.2 billion), meaning that Macra would have to pay an extra $7 729 361 (about K3.4 billion), according to a report.

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Phillips Chisambo
Guest

spying shit is too late now because we are now in democracy i can say any shit i want . its too late those nonsense was Kamuzu errar and it worked ,not now , you can spy for all i care but you won,t do any shit due to democracy ,and since the government budgets depend on the international donor community,if i feel that am being harassed then will tell donor communities of abuse of power. Another waste of resource for doing shit

Khima
Guest

Its funny how we tend to isolate a ‘hair” from well made soup..its obvious anyway. As a regulator that monitoring machine is a must. It just has many advantages to the nation as a whole. Mobile Network operators will be under full watch interms of service quality. Taxes will be fairly and accurately reconciled meaning increased revenue (despite our wastefulness though). Advantages are many koma poti ndife anthu sitilephela kusakabe zoipa.

Jemusi Phiri
Guest

Good. Now Godfrey Itaye can snoop on his wife’s phone calls when she is talking with many of her boyfriend’s including bwana Wa Mkula wins uja

Generation of vipers
Guest

No need to press a panic button here, we know how these institution work, negligence ili tho and further to that, there is always a way to bypass this like any other system.

Its just an indicator of how Malawi govt upside downs priorirties

Muphwalika Dausi
Guest

Akungofuna kukuopsyezani amalawi. Sangakwanitse kuchita monitor ma phone call onse round the clock. They don’t have the human capacity. After all they employ anthu on tribal grounds. So you can be assured kuti ma listener awo ndi alhomwe who can’t understand chiyawo or chinyakyuska!

Angachimve ma cadet awowo chimbakaya?

Besides Malawian employees are the laziest. Jobs like those require diligence and competence.

Keep talking Malawi until muphwalika looses his job as president of our beautiful country.

995
Guest

Koma akuluakulu penapake when making chiganizo we shd consider a common man,spending such a huge amount what will it bring to Malawians??anything sensible??anzathu a school inu apapa tawunikilanana,how can u spend such amount on spying voices?chaka chino kuli njala,why cant u divife such money by 28districts??kuchipatala??madzi?miseu??magesi?aaaaaaaa apa palibe chanzeru chachitika,koma poti wina tiva wamangidwa,akufufuzidwa timva

Muzandifuna
Guest

“Makala” will have to hire more people to listen to the conversations going on in Malawi. Too bad that is not on Itaye’s to do list… Besides there is how many languages in Malawi? So when people are talking in chitumbuka and the person listening is mmlomwe…. What will happen then… Tell them to talk in Lomwe? Shithole

Prophet
Guest

As a citizen not connected to any party, I will say well done MACRA. If TNM did not oppose to this, I could have said no this machine. These mobile company are there to make money and pay less tax which is wrong.
I have nothing to hide so they can listen to me anytime they want.

Sugzo
Guest

Indeed why should I be afraid if am not guilty. Every govt including USA AND UK listen to what their people are discussing. Govt doesn’t have to understand all the languages all they do is check for pointers e.g. the word jihad or bomb in USA and UK would alert authorities. Words like ndili ndi nyere are not important. Even if you are fucking someone’s wife the discussion irrelevant they will just be laughing. So don’t bother it’s not a danger.

Muzandifuna
Guest
Your right Prophet… But what we are saying is that the government did not set their priorities right. The issue about taxes could be dealt with by enforcing current rules and regulations. Remember cell phone have been here for a while now. That money could have been put to better use… And as you can see in the article no new jobs were mentioned not even a new building will be put up to house this machine or a call center were the monitoring will be taking place. Besides there is nothing going on in Malawi right now to warrant… Read more »
Khima
Guest

Its funny how we tend to isolate a ‘hair” from well made soup..its obvious anyway. As a regulator that monitoring machine is a must. It just has many advantages to the nation as a whole. Mobile Network operators will be under full watch interms of service quality. Taxes will be fairly and accurately reconciled meaning increased revenue (despite our wastefulness though). Advantages are many koma poti ndife anthu sitilephela kusakabe zoipa.

Chriss
Guest

Whatsapp calls?

ngalamayi
Guest

The government can’t run public facilities without donors stepping in, but it can finance a spy machine!! Priorities? At least we can say it will go the same way as power supplies, internet access, roads…breaking down regularly.

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