Petitions Challenge Centralized SMS Firewall

Petitions Challenge Centralized SMS Firewall Implementation

by - 01-04-2024 | 6:56 PM

COLOMBO (News 1st); Two writ applications challenging a recent cabinet decision to implement a centralised SMS Firewall intended to monitor, regulate and even block the distribution of SMS messages from an Application to a Person (A2P), as being a serious violation of the privacy and personal freedoms of the citizens – were taken up before the Court of Appeal this morning.

It was taken up before Court of Appeal Justices Sobhita Rajakaruna and Dammika Ganepola.

A petition was filed by MTV Channel (Private) Limited and another separate petition has also been filed by a civil society activist Lacille de Silva on the same.

The Petitioners allege that no tender process was followed in selecting an unsolicited proposal submitted by a foreign company named ‘Infobip’, to establish this centralised firewall system.

Deputy Solicitor General Nirmalan Wigneswaran appearing for the Cabinet of Ministers informed Court that this matter is now before a sub-committee of cabinet of ministers, and that they are in the process of reviewing the necessity for such firewall system, adding that the said subcommittee will invite all stakeholders, including the Petitioners in the two separate writ applications, to make their representations before any decisions are taken.

Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC who appeared for the MTV Channel (Private) Limited,  informed the court that whilst he is thankful to the Deputy Solicitor General for this intervention, he nevertheless wants to formally place on record that if this purported centralised firewall system is implemented, it will have an irreparably damaging effect on the private rights of the entire citizenry of Sri Lanka as it would be a very serious encroachment on the rights of the citizens of Sri Lanka. 

He also submitted to the Court that Infobip is a completely foreign company and all data, including confidential data will be in the possession of this alien, foreign company, which has an effect of causing serious repercussions to corporate as well as individual citizens.

The petitions will be called again on 31 May 2024 to assess the progress on the matter.

Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC with Lakmini Warusawithana, Rukshan Senadheera appeared for MTV Channel (Private) Limited instructed by Sanjeewa Amila Kumara  Attorney-at-Law