MOBILE phone evidence is admissible in court, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services deputy minister, Win Mlambo has said. Responding to a question by Chief Gampu in the Senate last week, Mlambo said cellphone evidence was permissible in court. “Yes . . . firstly, it can nail a criminal, but it can also assist in many ways because it can precisely assist the judge regarding the person who’ll be under trial.
“Tomorrow (last Friday) we’re finalising the revised National Policy on ICT and in there, we state very clearly that we’re trying to protect the unaware civilian about the use of these nice gadgets,” said Mlambo. “Protection of personal information against abuse because of the danger it has, including giving impeccable evidence in court about a case”.
Chief Gampu had asked Mlambo about government policy regarding cellphone evidence in court. “As ordinary citizens, can we use the information from our cellphones as evidence in court? “We’ve had problems in the past accepting evidence from cellphones,” said Chief Gampu.
Mlambo warned that cellphones were very dangerous tools and had to be treated with caution, hence the need to have a National ICT policy. “I think on the cellphones I’ve stated on many occasions that it’s a very dangerous tool. We love it but with technology comes danger.
“Anything that emits electro-magnetic waves can precisely locate. The information on a cellphone as I’ll be sending is meeting electro-magnetic waves and anybody who has the appropriate gadget can precisely locate where I’ll be. If I’m moving, it can trace wherever I’ll be going,” said Mlambo.
He said cellphones can also be used to track people, be it criminals or missing persons. “I wish to inform this august House that during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, they used a cellphone to track a person who would’ve been in West Africa so that they quarantine him or her.
“This was done because people weren’t willing to give information to the effect that they would’ve visited West Africa and were thus exposed to Ebola,” Mlambo said.
“They used technology to track down those people and when they landed in other countries, they were kindly told that they had been in West Africa through the use of technology. However, the information on cellphones can be used in court”.