The Cyber Security and Cybercrime Bill, presented in Parliament last week, is a serious threat to freedom of speech, according to civil rights activists.
Describing the law as a Trojan horse, l’Express newspaper cited security expert Ish Sookun as stating that the new law will have a direct impact on all internet users and small businesses across the country.
Service providers like MT, Emtel, will be reportedly compelled to give police access to their ‘stored and real-time traffic data‘ for the purposes of investigation.
The newspaper said owners of Facebook pages or other social media, or even websites, will be required to moderate the content of their platforms upon notification from the police.
“On top of it, the national cybersecurity committee will be made up of members selected by the minister. “There is no transparency and no possibility for someone to contest any decision taken by the committee”.
The opposition has described the move as an “attack on freedom”. Paul Bérenger and Roshi Bhadain have claimed that “the government wants to have control on social media – they will be able to take punitive action as and when it wishes.”
Rajen Narsingen, who teaches law at the University of Mauritius, claimed that the government – through ICTA’s Consultation Paper – tried to “subtly” introduce content filtering. This was unanimously rejected five months ago.
“What is even more serious is that they want to set up a committee of a dozen people, with the Prime Minister in control. This is against the Budapest Convention in addition to being undemocratic, as is the moderation of content by the media which is an attack on freedom of the press,” he was quoted as telling Defi Media.