11 December 2012

Zambia: ZICTA Clarifies SIM Card Registration

ZAMBIA Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) says the on-going sim card registration exercise is not intended at invading people's privacy.

ZICTA director general Margaret Chalwe-Mudenda said the company has no authority to circumvent mobile subscribers' privacy but that the exercise was in line with the best practices in the telecommunication industry.

Ms Chalwe -Mudenda was speaking when ZICTA held a sensitisation meeting with chairpersons of parliamentary committees in Lusaka yesterday.

She said sim card registration would reduce fraud that was perpetuated using mobile phones as information for subscriber would be available.

"Tracing people through sim cards is not the basis for initiating this execercise. There are a number of benefits such as the tackling of fraud which has become rampant in the country. We however do not have undue access to private conversations," she said.

Ms Chalwe-Mudenda said concerns that the registration of sim cards was intended to invade people's privacy were unfounded.

ZICTA did not have the required facilities to tap into people's phone conversations.

She said more than 48 countries in Africa had already embarked on the sim registration programme.

The exercise was being undertaken to enable ZICTA be at par with global trends.

She said so far, the sim card registration exercise had been well received even in rural areas where people continued to register their sim cards with their mobile service providers.

MMD Kembe Member of Parliament (MP) Ronnie Shikapwasha said the registration of sim cards had received resistance in some areas because people were not aware of the existence of laws that protected their privacy.

Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said ZICTA should intensify sensitisation on the safety of the process to allay fears by some quarters that the sim card registration was intended to spy on certain individuals.

MMD Kasempa MP Kabinga Pande said ZICTA was heading in the right direction and urged the telecommunications regulator to intensify its sensitisation drive, especially in rural areas.

Earlier UPND Monze Central parliamentarian Jack Mwiimbu said there was a perception that the registration of sim cards was targeted at some online publications and some individuals that were viewed as political opponents.

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