ICASA Is Not Well-Positioned To Deal With CyberSecurity

"It would be wasteful of ICASA’s already limited resources to extend itself into cybersecurity."

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Cell C Campus
Cell C Campus (Photo Credit: Atterbury Properties)

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is “not-well positioned to in terms of mandate, resources and experience to deal with current and emerging cybersecurity challenges”, said Cell C in a written response to the regulator.

Last year, the country’s communications watchdog published a Government Gazette containing a discussion document to solicit written submissions in respect of its role and responsibilities in the regulation of cybersecurity.

From 17 to 18 January 2019, ICASA plans to hold public hearings to determine its role and responsibilities in relation to cybersecurity in the country.

In the ICASA Conclusion to the Inquiry Document, the communications watchdog claims to be “well-positioned in terms of mandate, resources and experience to deal with current and emerging cybersecurity challenges”.

In a written response, Cell C  said it “does not believe that the Inquiry Document or the
facts can support this statement”.

Cell C added that it agrees with ICASA that cybersecurity is an important and necessary
area for regulation.

“However, in our view, it is not an area that ICASA needs to become involved in, nor is it appropriate for ICASA to become involved here,” said the operator.

“It is Cell C’s considered view that ICASA’s role as mandated in law, is to regulate the electronic communications, broadcasting and postal sectors and not to regulate cybersecurity, and that to do so would in fact result in unnecessary duplication and waste of resource.”

The operator, which is owned by Blue Label Telecoms, added that it was concerned that over many years ICASA has complained regularly about its lack of adequate funding in order to properly carry out its primary mandate as set out in the Electronic Communications Act, 2005 (ECA) and ICASA Act, 2000 (ICASA Act).

“It is inappropriate for ICASA to take on other functions that are not only not directly related to its functions, but that are already catered for by a plethora of other authorities. It
would be wasteful of ICASA’s already limited resources to extend itself into
cybersecurity,” said Cell C.

The publication of the Discussion Document was perpetuated by the proliferation of Internet interconnections and increased data services that have led to a significant growth of cyber-attack incidents often with disastrous consequences.

The Discussion Document further examines the role of various ICT regulators in the governance of cybersecurity in their respective countries.

The aim is to benchmark and/or compare the role these regulators are playing in the cybersecurity space and determine whether it is necessary for ICASA to adopt similar approaches taking into account its mandate.

Also read: ICASA Must Not Take A Lead In Regulating Cybersecurity, Says MTN

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