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CRAN wants enhanced digital surveillance through SIM registrations

CRAN wants enhanced digital surveillance through SIM registrations

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) last week hosted a public consultative meeting on SIM Registration Conditions, which will be imposed on telecommunications service providers.

The purpose of the conditions is to ensure that all active SIM card owners in Namibia are verified and registered. The SIM registration process will also establish a central database of SIM card subscribers, as an enabler to the overall national SIM identification system.

Speaking at the virtual consultative meeting, Emilia Nghikembua, the CRAN Chief Executive said SIM registration is utilised to address antisocial behaviour, to provide age verification and to assist in addressing mobile fraud.

“It is also a tool that eases and enables digital surveillance and interception for instances such as investigations of offences,” Nghikembua said.

Nghikembua added that mandated requirements for SIM registration are designed to be practical and reasonable in terms of balancing national security demands, whilst maintaining and protecting citizens’ rights as a key priority.

CRAN notes that while addressing security and criminal activity concerns is important, the overall policy consideration is to ensure that there are appropriate privacy safeguards and effective legal oversight to protect consumers’ personal data and privacy.

“SIM registration of new customers is compulsory three months from the date the Regulations commence and all existing customers must be registered within 12 months from the date of commencement of the regulations. However, the Minister (MICT) may extend the period in respect of a specific service provider or in respect of all service providers, on good cause shown,” said Nghikembua.

Public comments for the conditions commenced on 27 September and will close on 29 October 2021.

About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys

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