Namibia: No need to fear monitoring, NSS must have a reason

What has been reported in the media in terms of the interception clause in the Communications Bill of 2008 has been distorted and sensationalised, Joel Kaapanda, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, said this week.

He said such reports tend to frighten the general public and are aimed at putting government in a bad light and creating mistrust.
All kinds of allegations were made regarding the interception clause to confuse the public.
Emphasis has been put on the infringement of individual liberties by stating that [the] government is trying to stifle freedom of expression by monitoring and intercepting private conversations. This is incorrect. That is not the intention of the interception clause, he said.
Human rights activists have labelled the interception clause unconstitutional as it is in contradiction of peoples right to privacy. They say this clause is in violation of Article 13 of the Namibian Constitution.
Kaapanda assured the public that there is no need to panic about the interception clause. He said only those involved in criminal activities need to feel threatened.
He said the interception clause is aimed at monitoring criminal acts and before interception is allowed, the National Safety Service should acquire material evidence on a suspect that is involved in activities that might threaten the security of the country.
A judge of the High Court shall then use his or her discretion to decide whether to grant a warrant or not without any political interference.
You do not have to fear constant monitoring. The National Security Service must have a reason to monitor. National security is also not an abstract term. Your personal safety constitutes national security. If you are not secure because of threats made by criminal activities such as money laundering and child pornography, than the safety of the nation is also in jeopardy, he said.
Matthew Haikali, director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in Namibia, questioned the motives behind the inclusion of the interception clause now that the bill is before parliament. He said this has not been discussed in the seven years that MISA has been involved in consultations.
In response David Imbili, chairman of the Namibia Communications Commission, said the National Intelligence Act, makes provision for interception, while the Communications Bill only addresses the set-up of interception centres and not the act of interception itself.
He said interception has been lawful since the National Intelligence Act was implemented.
Nevertheless, according to Kaapanda, interception is not unique to Namibia and that it is something used by all sovereign nations.
It is a way to secure the safety of the country. There is a relationship between interception and democracy, he said.
Namibian Economist

Post published in: Zimbabwe News

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