On Wednesday 12th May 2021, Access Now, an international NGO that defends digital rights and fights Internet shutdowns, published a joint statement1 signed by over thirty other NGOs and several individuals affiliated with the school of law from Harvard and Korea University. The statement refers to the consultation paper2 published by the ICT Authority (ICTA) proposing amendments to the ICT Act of Mauritius.
These organizations made it clear that ICTA has proposed disproportionate measures which are radical and would set a dangerous precedent. They called on the Mauritian government and ICTA to retract the consultation paper and explore more proportionate and rights-protective measures for the regulation of illegal conduct on social media.
A day later, two major browser makers, Google and Mozilla, filed a joint submission3 in which they say that the technical enforcement measures by ICTA will undermine the trust of the fundamental security infrastructure of websites that use HTTPS. They mention that in the past when a device manufacturer or government entity abused on similar dangerous mechanisms both Google and Mozilla took measures to protect their users and secure their products.
In short, if the government of Mauritius would adopt the proposals of ICTA, Google and Mozilla will take the necessary steps to make sure that Chrome, Android and Firefox users are protected.
Today, exactly one month since the publication of the consultation paper, ICTA has pinned Mauritius on the world map for the wrong reasons. As a responsible regulator and under the current conditions due the pandemic and businesses having been severely affected, the ICT Authority should have facilitated us to export our ICT expertise to the region. Instead, they published a shameful and dictatorial proposal not suitable for a free society, leaving us looking like a joke to the rest of the world. 😐
Cover photo was taken during the Wakashio protest in Port-Louis, Mauritius, on 29 August 2020.