SIM card registration to curb crime

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THE Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) and the Ministry of Information for Communication Technology (MICT) are in talks to impose a new Act that will prohibit consumers from buying SIM cards without a valid identification.One of the reason for the proposed Act is to curb crimes committed through mobile phones. Mobile phones have been used for identity theft, blackmail, lottery scams and other illegitimate activities. “SIM Registration is essential for the interests of national security, public safety and the economic well-being of the country to combat crimes associated with the use of phones/SIM cards,” said Cran’s Chief Executive Officer, Festus Mbandeka.Mbandeka added that the authority will embark on a national campaign to create awareness and encourage consumers to register their SIM cards upon the finalisation of the respective regulations and commencement of the section by MICT.Although the leading mobile telecommunications company, MTC, requires identification upon purchasing a new SIM card or replacement, a number of SIM cards used in the country are obtained from unregistered outlets and street hawkers who buy the SIM cards from MTC and in turn sell them without necessary facilities to capture valid information from buyers.“SIM registration will be imposed as a licence condition, compelling licensees to ensure that all consumers’ SIM cards are registered,” he said.Police spokesperson, Edwin Kanguatjivi, also shared the same sentiments, adding that the completion of the proposed Act will boost the fight against crime as it will enable police to track down criminals committing crimes using mobile phones. “This will be a really good initiative because we will be able to trace the suspects easily. A lot of crimes are committed through mobile phones, such as fraud, identity theft and so forth and for security purposes, once perpetrators are registered, phone crimes will be significantly reduced,” Kanguatjivi added.