‘Spy machine’ roll out in September, says Malawi regulator

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra)  has announced t hat it will start using the  Consolidation ICT Regulatory Management System ( CIRMS”, dubbed “spy machine”, from September this year after the nod from Supreme Court.

MACRA’s Director General Godfrey Itaye: Spy machine roll out in September

MACRA Director General Godfrey Itaye told reporters at a news conference that  following the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling made on Tuesday this week against TNM‘s order on the matter, the regulator will roll out the operations of CIRMS.

TNM, one of the country’s mobile service providers, wanted the court to restrain the implementation of Cirmsas most Malawians feared it was capable of interfering with their privacy.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre allowed Macra to start using its monitoring system to  monitor mobile phone operators.

Macra argued that the monitoring system would enable them to be updated on quality of service the mobile phone operators offer, revenue assurance, fraud and spectrum management.

Itaye pointed out that  the Supreme Court held that the Communications Act gives Macra the powers to monitor activities of its licensees to fulfill its statutory obligations, including consumer protection.

“Macra will now continue from where it stopped in April 2015, that is complete installation and connection arrangements with telecommunication service providers. We expect that this process will be concluded by September 2017,” Itaye told journalists in Blantyre.

He said  Macra will use the spy machine “with utmost respect to the law and without compromise to customer confidentiality”.

Macra boss said Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) would also take advantage to use Macra’s data if in doubt about the taxes mobile phone operators are required to pay.

Supreme Court held that the use of the Cirms was a lawful limitation to the right to privacy, information and freedom of expression.

He said MACRA will abide by what the Supreme Court of Appeal has directed that the CIRMS should not be connected to access content.

According to Itaye, MACRA will now start off from where they stopped in April 2015 to complete installation and also connection arrangements with telecommunication service providers.

Macra bought the ;’spy machine’ at about K4 billion out of which $2.1 million) was from a Standard Bank loan which the regulatory body is servicing.

The legal battle may still be far from over as the court, however, gave TNM permission to go ahead to apply for judicial review.

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Alfred Chithokonya
Guest

This is good news. We are tired of dropped calls and poor internet connection.
Greetings to Mathews Chikaonda.

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