Calls already intercepted - MICTWindhoek ∙ [email protected]
Government has confirmed that telephone calls are already being intercepted within the confines of the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) and the Prevention and the Criminal Procedures Act. This is, however, bound to be expanded once the Communications Act is concluded.
In a statement issued yesterday, the ministry of information and communication technology clarified its policy directive to have all SIM cards in Namibia registered with service providers, which was published in the Government Gazette on 15 March.
“The regulations make provision for the manner in which information should be stored and shared with relevant authorities in case of criminal investigations.
“These regulations enable the telecommunication operators to compel their existing and potential customers to register with them - a practice which is currently not regulated, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies in their criminal investigations,” the statement read.
It is also stated that the Communications Act would enable the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), in consultation with the information ministry, to impose further conditions on service providers.
However, stored SIM card information will be obtained with a court order from a judge or magistrate in order to protect the privacy of customers.
“The benefits of SIM card registration are that it eradicates anonymity of communications, which aid in legal surveillance and interception.
“It also assists in finding criminals who uses telecommunications to commit offenses,” the statement read.
Last week, CRAN held a public consultative meeting on SIM registration conditions, and consulted service providers on the purpose of the conditions under which SIM card information would be verified and registered.
The registration process will also establish a central database of SIM card subscribers as an enabler to the overall national SIM identification system.