Friday, September 3, 2010

Zimbabwe Extends SIM Registration Deadline Indefinitely

Zimbabwe's telecoms regulator, Potraz has announced an extension to the deadline for pre-paid SIM card users to register their details with the telecoms networks. The deadline which should have come into effect on Wednesday has now been extended to an "indefinite date".

A new deadline will be established within the coming weeks, Nelson Chamisa, the Minister of Information, Communications and Technology told The Herald newspaper.

"People have been worried and concerned about issues of security, issues of privacy, secrecy and confidentiality. But when one weighs issues of the demerits and the merits, using the cost benefit analysis, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages," he added.

However, despite the minister's assurances, the registration remains controversial because not all mobile phone users may be willing to turn over personal information to the mobile networks.

This is because of fears that the personal information collected could be used for government or security surveillance purposes. Under Zimbabwean laws, it is a criminal offense to spread falsehoods using a mobile phone, especially those deemed prejudicial to the state.

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