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Operators seek protection from interception

20 May 2013, 12:32Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said the protection of local mobile network firms is critical if the Lawful Interceptions of Communication (LIoC) being proposed by Government were to succeed.

Government is considering the legislation through the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

Chairman of ALTON, Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, said that the intended regulations should not be skewed against the operators that were already plagued by several operational, infrastructural and customer related challenges.

“The requisite legal framework must provide sufficient safeguards against abuse and opportunities for redress.  There must also be very clear supervisory and reporting provisions.

"It is critical that network operators who implement interception in the national interest should be protected against civil and criminal liability in very clear and specific terms. This further underscores the need for a duly enacted legislation,”  Adebayo said.

He said given the intrusive nature of such powers and the need to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights,  Adebayo said there must be legally enforceable safeguards.

“Experience in the USA (the Verizon cases) has shown that telecoms operators who co-operate with law enforcement agencies in good faith and in the national interest may be subjected to very serious civil and criminal liabilities – we the (operators) should be protected by law.

“It is therefore critical that the National Assembly urgently provide a comprehensive legal framework addressing these concerns, this should be the starting point and then the NCC Regulations merely prescribe procedures,"  Adebayo said.

ALTON is the umbrella body for all licensed telecommunications operators.

- CAJ News



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