National Internet Filtering System

The topic might be sensitive and I believe some might even hide behind an oath of secrecy to escape questions. Nevertheless, the questions remain pertinent. Is the internet in Mauritius monitored? How is it done? What happens when suspicious traffic is detected? Do internet users in Mauritius understand cyber laws?

On 16 May 2015, I wrote about internet filtering in Mauritius and an intimidating letter that I received from the Executive Director of the ICT Authority.

Monitoring of internet traffic in Mauritius

There is a document titled "Final Cyber Security Strategy" that dates back to November 2014. Therein, five principles are mentioned with regards to a Mauritian approach for managing cyber security. Principle number four reads as follows:

Cyber security is being constructed to meet its functional and technical requirements. A comprehensive framework will be set up to monitor Internet traffic which might be harmful to the nation and society.

The National Cyber Security Strategic Action Plan 2014 - 2019 tags Project CS1P2, which is lead by the Ministry of Technology, Communication & Innovation, as "high priority".

internet-filtering-mauritius

The project's mission is to set up a content filtering system to block illicit materials on ICT devices. The target date of the project is 2016, that is next year. The Mauritius Police Force is labeled as one of the stakeholders in Project CS1P2. What happens after an internet user is barred from accessing "illicit material"? What actions are taken?

Until now, the only content filtering system that I am aware of is that which the ICT Authority mentions as being used to block child sexual abuse material on the internet. It's described as a system relying on NetClean Whitebox solution.

icta-csa
Source: www.icta.mu

The image found at icta.mu mentions "NetClean Whitebox CSA Web Site Filtering Filtering System for Mauritius installed at ICTA Premises". In an email dated 5 October 2015, I asked Mr Dabeesing & Mr Moutou of the ICT Authority whether the NetClean Whitebox solution is currently hosted at ICTA. In a reply Ms Vayapooree said:

Kindly note that the Netclean Whitebox solution is now cloud-based and not hosted at the ICTA premises.

Upon further questioning and insisting that I need to understand how my internet traffic is analysed, Ms Vayapooree provided some technical details. That triggered another question.

Apart from Netclean Whitebox, is the subscriber's IP address shared with third parties and law enforcers?

No further information was provided to that question.

Are the officers breaking the law by intercepting internet traffic?

There was another concern whether the officers operating the content filtering system might be breaking the law by exercising the operation without the internet user's consent. Very few people in Mauritius question the authority and with that we inherited a culture where the authority thinks "government is government, government decides".


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