Cellphone to protect national security - There is an urgent need for government to implement a law that makes provision for consumers to provide positive identification when purchasing a cellphone to protect national security, police have said.
According to one of the proponents of such a law, Kavango Police Regional Commander, Commissioner Olavi Auanga, the police need to be in a position to get hold of data and get hold of people being pursued for criminal acts. During an interview with New Era, Auanga was candid in his opinion that national security is at stake unless this issue is addressed.
'I am calling on the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to tackle this issue as a matter of urgency. Everyone who buys a cellphone or a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card should provide positive identification, which must be stored and used in future if needed,' he said. 'The reason why we have people insulting the leaders and other citizens over their cellphones is because they have found a loophole in our system and know that no one will be able to trace them.
'But if everyone provides identification when purchasing a cellphone or SIM card, it will be easy for the victims to lay civil or criminal charges against perpetrators since the police will be able to track down the culprits. Freedom of expression does not mean insulting others, therefore as the police we need to be given the power to monitor all these things,' he said. 'This is done in other countries therefore I am sure it can be done here also.'
Commenting on the issue, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana said the matter is covered under the Electronic Transactions and Communications Bill, which is still under consideration.
'It is in that Bill and we will eventually have a clause and be in a position to effectively fight crime, because cellphones are a medium of communication that are being misused to commit crime, while it was not the intended purpose for developing such communication gadgets,' said the permanent secretary. 'Even in neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana you cannot just go into a shop and buy a cellphone, the number has to be linked to your identity.' Ua-Ndjarakana added that the practice is a trend all over the world.
By Mathias Haufiku