Court clears Macra on Cirms machine
The Supreme Court of Appeal on Tuesday cleared Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to start implementing the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (Cirms), dubbed ‘spy’ machine.
Macra bought the Cirms to monitor provision of telecommunication services and obtain real time Call Detail Records (CDRs) from telecommunication service providers.
However, in 2015 Telkom Networks Malawi (TNM) Limited applied to the High Court for review of Macra’s decision to connect the Cirms.
TNM argued that there would be no framework to protect customer confidentiality.
The High Court dismissed TNM’s application and the mobile service provider appealed to the Supreme of Court of Appeal.
Addressing journalists in Blantyre Wednesday, Macra’s Director General, Godfrey Itaye, said the regulator shall continue from where it stopped in 2015.
This shall mean installation and connection arrangements with telecommunication service providers.
According to Itaye, the implementation is expected to be finalised by September this year.
Itaye said the implementation of the Cirms will be done with respect to the law and without compromise to customer confidentiality, dismissing fears of having calls and short message services spied on.
“Macra will abide by what the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal directed in the Makande case that the Cirms should not be connected to access content. It should also be noted that we collect data from the telecommunication service providers but it is done manually. Now what this means is that the process will be automated,” he said.
The ruling by the court gives TNM permission to apply for judicial review.
When asked if the battle will be pursued further, TNM’s Spokesperson, Akossa Hiwa, said their legal counsel has not made a decision on the matter.
“This is a legal matter, they will have to make a decision. Or send me a questionnaire I should send them (legal counsel) perhaps they should have an immediate response,” she said.
As we went to press, there was no immediate response from the mobile service provider.
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