SIM registration is integral to your digital identity – Nghikembua
By Clifton Movirongo.
The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) this week announced that the mandatory SIM registration to be implemented by mobile service providers is tailor-made to protect digital identities from cybercrimes, and to ensure the effective regulation of a technological landscape.
Digital technologies have become integral in the administration of governance, and commercial and financial services that are becoming more accessible, the communication regular said in a statement.
This comes after the government announced plans to make SIM registration compulsory last year, adding that the move is part of efforts to curb crime and fight identity fraud.
Namibia is one of the latest countries to join the trend that is fast taking roots across Africa.
According to CRAN’s Chief Executive, Emilia Nghikembua, ‘registering your SIM card is integral to your digital identity, which she said already exists through other systems such as banking and social media.
“SIM registration is complementary to already-in-place legislation and enables law enforcement and National Security Agencies to verify digital identities and the use of a mobile phone number during investigations that serve to protect users from cybercrimes and have evidence to prosecute culprits,” explained Nghikembua.
She added that for the country to grasp the Fourth Industrial Revolution safely, SIM registration must be implemented.
“Following the recent conference and expo regarding Namibia’s preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the effective regulation of technologies on par with international best practices and in the interest of national safety has never been more important,” she pointed out, adding that the protection of the individuals from cybercrimes is just as important.
“In terms of Part 6 of Chapter V of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009), the SIM registration conditions obligate users to register their SIM cards at the service provider(s) they subscribe to, by providing their full name, address, and identity number in the form of a copy of an Identity Document (ID) or Passport. As of 01 January 2023, to 31 December 2023, it is mandatory for mobile operators to register all their customers’ SIM cards and obtain all relevant information before the sale and activation of SIM cards.”
According to her, the data to be retained by service providers, the information to create an itemized bill, is already in existence and can be obtained by users.
“This drive of SIM registration awareness targets pre-paid users who have had the opportunity to purchase and use a SIM Card without providing any form of identification,” Nghikembua added.
She also maintained that after SIM registration, growth in e-commerce will enable users to manage their businesses and lives better within a safe environment, while knowing that the interception of their data will not be allowed without execution of the relevant procedures as per the legislation.
Meanwhile, the President, HE Dr. Hage Geingob noted the importance of taking technology into remote areas, particularly the youth and marginalized not to be excluded from the social, economic, and other developmental benefits of technology, said CRAN.
“The implementation of this legislation is in line with Namibia’s Harambee Prosperity Plan II and its pillars of Effective Governance, Economic Advancement, Social Progression, and Infrastructure Development. These pillars respectively complement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) including those of Peace Justice and Strong Institutions.”
“Without the implementation of legislation such as SIM Registration, Namibia’s people and the country’s FINTECH are vulnerable and at a high risk,” she concluded.