By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
The Zimbabwe Government Gazette released yesterday, pronounced a prison term for subscribers who will not be registered or properly updated with effect 30 days from Tuesday next week.
A 30 day ultimatum has been issued on all subscribers with both active and inactive lines to speedily regularise their data with the service providers which shall then be uploaded to a new government controlled database.
The government is setting up a Central Subscriber Information Database, in which all subscribers’ information would be stored after registration.
Mobile operators and agents who are also being used to collate data have been urged to report to the nearest police station any suspicious or dubious registration by any individual or bodies.
“Any service provider, including an agent, distributor or dealer who contravenes or fails to comply with the requirements issued in terms of the regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine,” it said.
For all subscribers who would have changed their physical addresses, they are directed to inform their service providers in not more than 21 days for their records to be updated. On that same note Service providers were also given 30 days to de-activate unregistered subscribers.
The gazette reports that the action is in line with the new Subscriber Registration Regulations of 2013 Postal and Telecommunications and breach of the regulation will attract punitive action of imprisonment.
The document read “Any customer or person who fails to comply with the regulations is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or a period of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both fine and such imprisonment,”
Service providers are compelled to record customers’ details, including full names, permanent residential address, nationality, gender, subscribers identity number, national identity number or passport number before activating any SIM card.
The Gazette states that this is being done to safeguard national securityand only aithorised entities shall have access to the data.
“The creation of this database shall enable the authority to monitor service providers’ compliance with the provisions of these regulations and assist with operation of the emergency call services or assisting emergency services, assist law enforcement agencies or safeguarding national security and assist with the provision of mobile based emergency warning systems and authorities to research in the sector.”
This information should be stored by the service provider for as much as 5 years even after a client has terminated service with the provider and the information should be availed to the authorities free of charge should there be any need to for such information.