What did Mozilla & Google say, what did ICTA understand and what does the Chairman tell BBC?

What did Mozilla & Google say, what did ICTA understand and what does the Chairman tell BBC?

Ish Sookun

What did Mozilla & Google say?

On Wednesday 12th May 2021, Mozilla and Google filed a joint submission1 to the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (ICTA) of Mauritius in response to their consultation paper2 on proposed amendments to the ICT Act. I quote from the Mozilla and Google's response;

« As proposed, the ICT Act's technical enforcement measures would work to undermine the trust of the fundamental security infrastructure that currently serves as the basis for the security of at least 80% of websites on the the web that use HTTPS (...) The ICTA's proposal would thus not only put Mauritian's privacy at risk but would also compromise the integrity and security of the system that Mauritius and many other nations depend upon for essential services. The result would be a less secure internet for Mauritian citizens, one that puts them at greater risk of fraud, identity theft, and surveillance. »

In their final remark, they call on ICTA to abandon the idea of implementing the framework proposed in the consultation paper. I quote;

« We agree with the Authority's statement that 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" and urge the Authority not to pursue this approach. »

What did ICTA understand?

On Thursday 13th May 2021, ICTA released a press communique3 in which they say that for companies like Google or Mozilla expressing themselves on the subject means that it is a global problem and not just affecting Mauritius. I quote:

« Pour l’ICTA, le fait que des compagnies aussi importantes que Google ou Mozilla se soient exprimées sur cette question prouve qu’il s’agit d’une problématique internationale, qui ne touche pas uniquement Maurice. »

What does the Chairman tell BBC?

On Friday 14th May 2021, i.e today, the Chairman of ICTA, Dick Ng Sui Wa, replied to a journalist's question on BBC Newsday4. He started by relating Capitol incidents (in the U.S.A) where five people lost their lives and compared ICTA to Ofcom, UK's communication regulator.

The journalist stopped him and said that he is comparing ICTA to Ofcom but Google or Mozilla have not said to the British regulator that their measures will place the privacy and security of Internet users at grave risk.

ICTA's Chairman replies, « no, I think they did not contact us directly to say this is not correct. »

I let you all draw your own conclusions.

The cover photo used is property of BBC. Source of the image is the webpage meta information provided at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/stations.

The audio was recorded from BBC Newsday4 on 14th May 2021 and its publication here is solely for information purposes.

  1. https://blog.mozilla.org/netpolicy/files/2021/05/Mozillas-Response-to-the-Mauritian-ICT-Authoritys-Consultation.pdf
  2. https://www.icta.mu/docs/2021/Social_Media_Public_Consultation.pdf
  3. https://www.icta.mu/mediaoffice/2021/comm_icta_fait_le_point.html
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w172xv2mgsm68vl