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The Daily Challenge is witnessing reports that the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Act will be amended through the Finance Bill. The goal: to strengthen the powers of the organization in terms of regulation and control. The new provisions will allow Icta to “request the assistance of the police during inspections”. Procedures for raiding homes or businesses suspected of being involved in an offense under the ICT Act to seize devices and equipment by police will be simplified.

Officers of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (Icta) currently have limited powers when carrying out inspections and other operations as part of their duties. In the absence of binding means, agents often find themselves powerless in the face of situations of non-compliance or resistance from the entities inspected.

The ICT Act will be amended through the Finance Bill which will be presented very soon by the Minister of Finance, Renganaden Padayachy, in order to allow Icta officers to benefit from the active support of the police during operations. This collaboration, it is made clear, aims to strengthen their capacity for intervention, particularly in contexts where the cooperation of companies or individuals is insufficient.

The presence of the police will ensure that inspections take place more efficiently and without hindrance. In practice, the police will be given the power to seize any non-compliant or prohibited technology and communications equipment on Mauritian soil and which has been identified as such. This measure, specifies a source based at Icta, aims to eradicate the use of equipment which does not meet safety standards or which violates the country's regulations. Once seized, this equipment will be subject to a strict processing procedure. Depending on the conditions that will be prescribed, the police will be able to dispose of this equipment, either by destroying it or by disposing of it in a secure manner.

At the Icta level, it is affirmed that the law will soon be amended in order to also allow the police to carry out operations more easily and to seize devices which are used without a permit or for possible crimes under the 'ICT Act. “Until now, the police did not have the authority to intervene directly in situations where individuals possessed technology and communications equipment without the necessary license. She had to go through an affidavit, present it before a judge in Chambers to obtain a search warrant before she could carry out a search. Now, thanks to these new provisions, the procedure is simplified. This measure concerns various equipment such as satellite phones, walkie-talkies and any other device requiring a user license,” it says.

This reform, it is explained, is part of a broader desire by the government to strengthen the regulation of the ICT sector.

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