Should The LTA Be Allowed To InstallA Spy Machine?

first_imgI read with dismay that the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) said it does not possess the equipment that is needed to actively monitor the quality of the country’s telecoms networks, Cellular News reports.According to the article, the director of the LTA said at a hearing that the lack of the equipment was enabling some companies to under report their traffic and avoid full regulatory payments to the government. Further, the lack of detailed technical supporting documentation that such equipment would provide is hampering any attempts to enforce shut-down notices on companies that are suspected of fraud.As a student of information technology (IT) and communication, I am taking aback by the LTA desire to undertake such arrangement without a national legislation. The invading of people’s privacy should be protected by GSM providers in all forms. The machine that the LTA is talking about here is a “Spy Machine”. This equipment is called the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (Cirms). This system is designed to track calls, invade GSM users’ privacy and to prevent telecoms customers from being overcharged.This system has both positive and negative implications and it should be backed by a national legislation if the LTA must succeed. Without a national legislation the process will be illegal and violation of the GSM users’ privacy.It can be recalled that the telecommunication operators in Malawi have similar tussles on the matter but was later defeated by the by Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra) over the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (Cirms). Macra bought the Cirms – which was later popularised as ‘the Spy Machine’ – from a US-based company, Agilis International, at a cost of USD6.8 million and by August, it had paid USD2 million.Since its acquisition, operators have been protesting its installation claiming it would infringe on the public’s right to privacy. They later ended in court over the matter.Here in Liberia, the LTA is claiming that without said equipment it cannot enforce shutdown on GSM companies’ violators. The fact here is that, this machine perform beyond that point of enforcing shut down. It is a spy machine and GSM companies are under obligation to protect the privacy rights of their users. This could lead to a crises between the GSM companies and the LTA.Telecommunication operators in Malawi still insist that using the high-tech call tracking equipment is a violation of their users’ rights, their services and will compromise obligation and duty they have to their subscribers.They also based their argument on the laws of Malawi saying Section 21 sub section c of the Malawi Constitution call for the protection of personal privacy. But parliament which has the bragging rights in the formulation of laws in the country overwhelmingly supported the controversial machine.In their submission, they also challenged the directive by Macra to all telecommunication operators to provide it with subscribers’ call detail records.Spy fearsAmid much tussling over the system’s use, MACRA put its foot down and it almost switched on the machine, only to be stopped in its tracks when politicians and human rights activists challenged the implementation by seeking a court intervention.On October 14, 2011 the High Court in Blantyre indeed stopped the Malawi government from switching on the machine.The court gave an order to MACRA restraining it from getting Call Details Records (CDRs) from the country’s telephone operators.  Lawyer Ralph Kasambara was hired to challenge the rolling-out of the machine.The kind of information CDRs provide include 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.Malawi telecommunication operators already provide summarised data from the CDRs and MACRA is not currently able to access detailed subscriber information. But the new system would allow MACRA access to information about the calls made by anyone in the country.In the initial dispute over the matter, Information and Civic Education Minister Patricia Kaliati echoed what her predecessor had said: that the machine would only be used to improve the quality of services being offered by the operators and manage traffic.Government has backed MACRA’s intention to implement the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System CIRMS Project, arguing that it will help the Malawi Revenue Authority recover lost revenue.What will happen in Liberia if the LTA shall have installed such machine, looking at the political loyalty of our government officials? Will people rights to their privacy be protected? Let the LTA be open enough and tell the Liberian people the fact about this machine and its function in totality.About the author: Charles B. Yates is a student of IT- Networking and Communication at the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), Delhi, India. He can be reached on +91-9818-048750.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Natural mangrove die-off results in sea defence works

first_imgGuyana’s coastline has seen some considerable sea defence construction in light of the natural die-off of the mangroves. One such area is the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) where works were carried out by the Public Infrastructure Ministry’s Sea and River Defence Unit, in an effort to avoid flooding.The mangroves, which serve as the main barrier between the people of the coastland and the vast waters of the Demerara River, have been subjected to natural die-off during the past three years. As such, the amount of mangrove cover has been reduced significantly.When contacted, Head of the Mangrove Office at the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Kene Moseley explained that the area is been monitored to determine whether or not mangroves will be planted immediately, as certain assessments are necessary and must be carried out.“We have to monitor the area. One of the areas has to stop with the erosion cycle. If it starts accreting again, we will consider to monitor, to make sure it reached the right elevation. And then we may or may not do planting, depending on whether or not the area starts to naturally regenerate, but we have to continue monitoring. At the moment we, don’t plan to do any planting.”It was also clarified that the mangroves were there for the primary defence in that area. As the mangroves deteriorated, residents experienced flooding and thus, the sea defence unit was subjected to build riprap structures which they have been doing.Guyanese conservationist Annette Arjoon-Martins in commenting on the phenomenon she stated that due to the natural process of erosion, the sea defence workers are doing a ‘remarkable’ job of trying to save the banks of the river from eroding completely. This will help to prevent flooding of areas where people reside where this kind of erosion is occurring.last_img read more

Bale snaps drought as Real edge past struggling Huesca

first_img“He (Bale) and the rest of the team were all fantastic. He scored a great goal and it was enough to get the win,” said Real coach Santiago Solari. “His goal and the general character of the team were crucial in taking all three points.”“It wasn’t a game to remember, but if you want to win La Liga, you have to win these matches,” the Argentine added.Bale put a halt to his longest spell without scoring in the league since joining Real as he expertly cushioned in a volley from an arcing cross by Alvaro Odriozola on eight minutes.Huesca winger Ezequiel Avila forced a brilliant stop from Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, the Belgium international punching the ball to safety midway through the first half.Bale nearly added to his haul on 25 minutes when his fierce drive from the edge of the area was tipped over by a scrambling Aleksandar Jovanovic.Gonzalo Melero should have levelled for Huesca right after the break only to nod wide of the goal despite having the whole target at which to aim. A swerving David Ferreiro shot drew another smart save from Courtois as Real withstood a spirited fightback from the hosts, but Bale continued to threaten and forced two further saves from Jovanovic.Courtois turned over a late Moi Gomez free-kick and Huesca, who slumped to a 10th defeat in 15 games this season, were denied a point when Dani Carvajal headed off the line from Christian Rivera.Elsewhere, Borja Mayoral salvaged a point for Levante with a stoppage-time equaliser in a thrilling 4-4 draw away to Eibar.Eibar, who beat Madrid 3-0 in their last home game, led 4-2 with 15 minutes to play after a quick-fire brace by Charles added to goals from Sergi Enrich and Gonzalo Escalante.But Levante snatched a draw as Tono halved the deficit before Mayoral struck at the death.Real Valladolid won for the first time in six games as Toni Suarez and Antonito found the net in a 2-1 victory at Real Sociedad.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Gareth Bale scored his first goal in La Liga since September 1 © AFP / ANDER GILLENEAMadrid, Spain, Dec 9 – Gareth Bale ended a run of 802 minutes without a goal in La Liga as Real Madrid won 1-0 at bottom side Huesca on Sunday to climb back to within five points of leaders Barcelona.The Welshman struck his first goal in the league since the start of September to lift Real to a fourth win in five matches and move the European champions up to fourth place.last_img read more