For breaking news and analysis on Malawi and other stories of interest that impact on Africa

Malawi Court Stops Govt from using ‘Spy Machine’

A court in Malawi has stopped government from getting Call Detail Record (CDRs) from phone operators to roll-out the US6.8 million ‘spy machine’

CDRs provide detailed information including who called which number; details of calls received; time and duration of calls; location where call was made or received; SMS sent and received; type of handset used and other detailed subscriber information.

“Judge Healy Potani grant the injunction to stop Macra from rolling out pending an inter-parties hearing  and this means that in the meantime Macra can install the machine, but cannot start the intended purposes until further determination by the court,” Lawyer Ralph Kasambara said.

He had argued that the machine was not justifiable and was a violation of the right to privacy.

The equipment, according to the operators, can give government accessibility to also monitor internet activity in real time.

Malawi Regulatory Authority (Macra) had forced telephone operators to surrender Call Detail Records (CDRs) to feed into the equipment

Currently, the operators provide summarized data from the CDRs and Macra is not able to access detailed subscriber information but the latest decision will equip Malawi Regulatory Authority (Macra) who will now be able to eavesdrop on conversations of anyone in the country.

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