The proposed registration of prepaid subscriber identity module or SIM card through ECT Act of 2009 and statutory instrument No.65 of 2011 on the Registration of Electronic Communication Apparatus, this move whether good or not, lets find out.
This measure is currently being supported by all the 3 Mobile service providers in Zambia i.e MTN, Zamtel and Airtel.
This isn’t new as most people might think. This bill was enacted back in 2009 when Communications Authority was changing its name to ZICTA but was not just enforced on time till now.
According to ZICTA “the registration of SIM is not necessarily a tool for curbing crime but a way in which mobile phone users will be identified, by registering, mobile users will confirm the numbers which they are using”.
I do understand that SIM card registration won’t be our country’s solution from crimes of mobile theft, organised crime and any other acts of lawlessness, but these are still valid reasons for demanding all mobile users to register their SIM cards.
other reasons I feel this is good are
– service providers will have knowledge of customer age groups and will have products suitable for these particular age groups
– it promote responsibility especially in cases where one borrows the SIM card to his friend or relative
– it will ease the process of SIM card replacement in case of damage or loss because the mobile service provider will already have our details and the mobile user will only need to provide proof of identity
– it will be easy to find out how many SIM cards of the same number are registered with each Mobile service provider
– and also the number of SIM cards of the same mobile service provider a particular mobile user has.
The only disadvantages which are likely to come from this are
– breach of privacy (in cases were a mobile users’ details are obtained illegally from the service provider by an unauthorised individual for malicious intent).
– mobile users will not be allowed to check how many SIM cards they have registered in their name, hence mobile user may punished for they haven’t done.
I support this on grounds that adopting the new system will allow for responsibility and order to occur. Anonymity gives criminals, abusers, scammers, spammers power. It may not abolish crimes, but it will curb misuse and abuse — just as an e-mail address is required to use services on the Internet. There have been many scamming attacks lately and I’ve been a victim of unsolicited SMS.