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Safaricom backs directive on mobile subscribers registration

Author: M Abdul Rehman // Category:

Safaricom has supported recent presidential directive requiring all mobile phone subscribers to be registered as a way of combating crime.

The firm said it would support the efforts being undertaken to improve the security of citizens.

“An enabling law will certainly give us the much-needed legal muscle to extend this to our entire network. It would map out how these records are to be used and give us the legal right to ask our subscribers for their details,” said chief executive officer Mr Michael Joseph in a statement to newsroom.

The directive issued by the president will in essence require every sim card holder in the country to be registered.

This is aimed at curbing criminal activities that have increased overtime rendering traceability of the culprits impossible.

The process, is set to be complete within six months with the Communication Commission of Kenya spearheading the efforts.

“We need to do this as a country. Safaricom already has over half of our subscriber base registered through our M-PESA and PostPay services and the popular Bonga loyalty scheme, for which registration is a standard requirement,” added Mr Joseph.

The challenges that has remained along the issue of subscriber registration revolves around confidentiality.

These are supposed to be addressed in the regulations while maintaining the ease of enjoying mobile phone services.

Mobile phone service providers have in the past held that their efforts would be done within the law and without infringing on subscribers rights, including the right to privacy, as enshrined in its license obligations.

“Registration is no panacea to our crime problems and it can never be surrogate to professional police investigations. As is stands, criminals will always steal phones and even identities of innocent people, but it is a necessary first step in helping us combat the recent upsurge of mobile-phone related crime. At the end of the day, crime is a societal problem whose conquest requires the concerted efforts of all. At Safaricom, we have always played our part and that will continue,” said Mr Joseph.

President Kibaki gave the directive at a gala dinner hosted by Communications Commission of Kenya on July20th, 2009 as part of the regulator’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

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