High Court Judge John Mativo when stopping the telecoms market regulator CA from attempts to access consumer data in a spying mission to rein in use of counterfeit phones said it is the mandate of the State to enhance protection of privacy.
Among other praises of the judgment, the judge hit the nail on the head as far as the government’s duty goes in providing security to every citizen.
And the court enumerated a number of functions that in the modern wold have migrated and found a home online.
It would be counter-productive for the government, whose core job it is to deliver growth and development, to snoop on private conversations and hurt free communication that the Constitution guarantees and also influences business and enterprise.
What’s more, some details like medical records and people’s sexuality are stuff that would add little value to the State’s business, instead it would expose consumers to a lot of questions and weighing of options, meaning restricting their lives in a democratic State.
While no society lacks miscreants and unscrupulous people who want to break the law and harm others in their interactions, these ones can be monitored using other means and their tracks accessed through court orders.
Unrestricted access to private data is open to abuse and is akin to a regulator over-reaching itself without regard for the law. Any kind of snooping would, in a great deal, hurt telecomuunications companies business when their clients are exposed to round the clock spying without a known cause.
Indeed, the Communications Authority (CA) would itself lack the ability to interpret the huge data through the operators’ sites. One, they would not have enough personnel to turn the data into information for decision making. Two, the CA is not the counterfeits monitor as the court rightly ruled.
While the CA may mean well, it has go back to the drawing and align its actions to what the Constitution says.