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The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA)
In view of the ongoing consultation on proposed amendments to the ICT Act for FURTHER regulating the use and addressing the abuse and misuse of Social Media in Mauritius, I am hereby submitting the following:
- It has been hardly 3 years since amendments were made to the ICT Act to regulate the use and to address the abuse and misuse of Social Media in Mauritius. There is no visible or known need, let alone any urgency to further amend the ICT Act.
- The timing and manner in which this exercise is conducted seriously purports ulterior political motives.
- The so-called independence of the ICTA and of its Board members is a well-known joke.
- Government and enforcement agencies have blatantly abused of existing laws, putting at risk the social harmony.
- The consultation document and public statements made by representatives of ICTA do project an absurd image of a fishing expedition.
- The content of the document is self-incriminating on the imminent threat posed to our democracy, namely – a) 12.2. The proposed statutory framework will undoubtedly interfere with the Mauritian people’s fundamental rights and liberties in particular their rights to privacy and confidentiality and freedom of expression; b) 14.8 Can you propose an alternative technical toolset of a less intrusive nature […]
Following the own admission of the chairman of the ICTA on the infringements to our fundamental rights and since the side effects of the proposed remedy are deadly compared to the symptoms it is meant to cure, I strongly appeal for the immediate cancelation of the proposed amendments to the ICT Act.
Social Media New Communiqué - 19 April 2021
Further to some press articles, private radio news items and online comments on social media platforms, the ICTA wishes to bring the following clarifications: The proposal in the Public Consultation paper on “Proposed amendments to the ICT Act for regulating the use and addressing the abuse and misuse of Social Media in Mauritius” pertains to social media platforms only as clearly spelt out in the paper title itself.
- As opposed to the rampant fake news propagated by ill-intentioned persons on the web, online messaging applications are not concerned. Online messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Threema, Wire, etc present a distinct characteristic, which is end-to-end encryption. This type of encryption is different from the https/TLS encryption described in the Consultation Paper. End-to-end encryption implies that each and every communication between two users of these online messaging applications are encrypted in such a way that nobody in the middle and not even the service provider has the ability to decrypt it.
- It has never been the intention of the ICTA to regulate the use of online messaging applications since these types of communication are of a private nature as opposed to public postings on social media platforms.
- ICTA has already sought the opinion of Facebook’s office in South Africa to seek their views on the proposal and to further recommend alternative measures to tackle the issues of abuse and misuse of social media in Mauritius.
- In accordance with the recommendations made by the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg before the Senate of United States in April 2018, whereby he advised governments to put into place their own respective regulatory bodies to oversee fake news and illegal contents, the ICTA as per Sections 18(d) and (m) of the ICT Act, in accordance with its legal duty and obligations, will submit recommendations to the Government, only after this exercise of public consultation is completed.
- Furthermore, on the 30th of March 2019, following the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, Mark Zuckerberg called on governments and other bodies to increase regulation around the sorts of data in which Facebook traffics.
19 April 2021