‘Phone tappers must be fired’


SOME mobile phone service workers are the major culprits in mobile phone-tapping crime and the Zambia Information Communication and Technology Authority (ZICTA) should do something about it to protect customers, the Zambia Direct Democratic Movement (ZDDM) has charged.

ZDDM vice president Charles Kafumbo said yesterday that as long as some mobile phone service workers were not removed, the privacy of Zambians was at stake as the recording of their phone conversations compromised their safety.

Mr. Kafumbo accused ZICTA of not doing enough to reprimand service providers as the regulating authorities even when there were clear indications that some of their employees might be involved in sinister activities which put their customers at risk. He said the scourge will never come to an end as long as the authority continued treating companies that were abrogating the law with kid gloves yet they were working with bad elements in committing crime.

He noted that the tapping, recording and subsequent publication of a phone conversation between Minister of Information Chishimba Kambwili and Kitwe district commissioner Chanda Kabwe, was just one of the many illegalities that mobile companies were engaged in.

He noted that as long as nothing was done to arrest the situation, Zambians will start living in fear because their privacy was at stake.

“I am speaking as a telecommunication specialist and I understand what I am talking about. This is issue of phone-tapping seems to be a very trivial matter but has grave consequences that we may not cope with as a country. As for mobile service providers, they are the major culprits in this syndicate because they know what is going on as they are directly linked to their customers.

“We are even surprised why ZICTA cannot come in and deal with these erring companies because there is no way a private institution can come in to tap their (mobile service providers) without them knowing and since ZICTA is a regulator, they should have known by now that these companies are not complying and so, why should they continue operating in our country?” Mr. Kafumbo asked.

He said the cartel seemed to have infiltrated a lot of institutions which could have taken drastic measures to end cybercrime in Zambia and expressed worry that the reluctance by such institutions provided no hope that the problem could be solved any time soon. He said the lawlessness that was being exhibited by some groups of people in Zambia had the potential to create security as their victims could react differently.

“Now we have a situation where because there are some elements paying homage to the cartel and other opposition groups, as a result professionalism has been compromised and people have lost  confidence in institutions that were supposed to protect them.

“As a result of this, Zambians will lose confidence in these institutions and this will be the beginning of problems because when they feel they have had enough of injustice, they may be forced to take the law in their own hands,” he said.

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