CAP is against government’s plans to give more power to the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (ICTA) to censor social media.
According to the consultation document released, the Authority seeks to set up a National Digital Ethics Committee (NDEC) with an enforcement unit empowered to take down and censor social media posts. To make its plan work, the document proposes to allow the government to set up a proxy “to segregate from all incoming and outgoing internet traffic in Mauritius, social media traffic, which will then need to be decrypted, re-encrypted and archived for inspection purposes as and when required”. (bold ours)
It has been argued in some quarters that the proposed Ethics Committee will be no more than a “police des pensées”, to control our thinking. Government seems to be indifferent to V-Dem’s affirmation that Mauritius has embarked on the dangerous slope of autocracy.
We leave it to your imagination as to who will be appointed on the so-called ethics committee in a country where a political crony, whose main interest is in gaming machines, can be appointed CEO of a highly scientific body.
Is it ICTA’s role as a regulator to act as censor? The law as it is already provides for a Tribunal which can look into misdemeanor on behalf of social media users. ICTA as an independent regulator should not be used to censor social media.
It is matter of concern that ICTA’s proposal aims at allowing itself to take down social media posts. The plan, the document argues, will help fight cybercrime in social media by allowing the government to retain a record of social media posts and track down who posted them.
The time has come for citizens to express their opposition to these proposals.