The mandatory registration of SIM cards countrywide commences this year, Malawi Regulatory Authority (Macra) has revealed.
SIM is an abbreviation for Subscriber Identity Module. A SIM card is a valuable memory card, which stores all the information on your phone, like pictures, videos, and music and contact numbers.
The registration will kick-start once relevant legal framework is put in place, Macra said.
All new and existing mobile phone numbers will have to be registered to be activated on a mobile network in Malawi.
Macra communications officer Blessings Samuel Phumisa said SIM card registration will reduce incidents of fraud and crime as well as documenting the total subscriber base.
According to Phumisa, Macra is also reviewing the Communications Act “which will give SIM card registration statutory mandate.”
Malawi wants users to show identification documents such as a passport, driver’s licence or voter registration card in order to register their SIM.
It is likely that at the time of SIM registration, they will also have their photo and fingerprints taken. Each time someone buys a new SIM, it will also have to be registered.
The initiative is aimed at fighting crime. Malawi does not have a national identity database of its citizens and the government believes that this initiative is necessary to “protect the interests of those who are victims and potential victims of those who abuse the privilege of telecommunications”
The initiative is sure to raise privacy concerns, but authorities argue that “the only person who should be afraid of SIM registration is the criminally-minded”.
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