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Macra Unleashes ‘Spy Machine’

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Itaye (in red neck tie) breaking the news to the media Itaye (in red neck tie) breaking the news to the media (File photo/Zodiak)

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has said it will start implementing the Consolidation ICT Regulatory Management System (CIRMS) popularly known as the spy machine from September this year.

Speaking at a press briefing Wednesday afternoon in Blantyre, MACRA Director General Godfrey Itaye said the decision has been reached at following a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling made on Tuesday this week against TNM‘s complaint on the matter.

Itaye said that the gadget will be used “with utmost respect to the law and without compromise to customer confidentiality”.

In September 2014, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that MACRA had the mandate under the Communications Act to use the spy machine to monitor the provision of telecommunications services and obtain real time call detail record from telecommunication service providers.

In April 2015, TNM applied to the High Court for review of MACRA’s decision to start using the machine, arguing that there was no framework to protect customer confidentiality and that it should not therefore implement the machine.

After two years battling in court, Tuesday this week, the Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of MACRA and gave TNM permission to apply for judicial review on the implementation of the CIRMS.

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.

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