Kenya launches compulsory SIM registration of phones’ subscribers
This was occasioned by widespread crimes perpetuated using mobile phones and of late the use of mobile phones to propagate hate speech.
Information Minister Minister Samuel Poghisio says the move is aimed at safeguarding Kenyans against rising cases of mobile phone crime.
Poghisio said, in a speech read on his behalf on Monday by his PS Bitange Ndemo at the launch of SIM card registration by Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) that his ministry will soon introduce amendments to the existing law to effectively deal with mobile phone crime.
The Minister has warned that non compliance with the directive will lead to deactivation of lines.
There has been a sharp increase in mobile related crimes such as handset thefts, threats and hate messages, extortions, drug trafficking, kidnappings, money laundering among others.
July last year President Mwai Kibaki ordered SIM card registration for all mobile subscribers in the country. The President’s directive was occasioned by widespread mobile phones crimes.
Investigations by the Ministry of Internal Security into the 2008 post election violence and the Mathira massacre revealed that the killings were both fueled by the use of hate messages through mobile handsets.
The launch also follows months of consultations between the industry regulator, CCK, Information Ministry and the country’s four mobile phone operators.
Kenya now joins nine other countries including Tanzania, South Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria that have already registered mobile subscribers.
Speaking at the same event CCK Director General Charles Njoroge called on Kenyans to cooperate in providing the required information to their respective service providers.
To be registered mobile users will be required to provide to their respective service providers their ID numbers, names, date of birth, place of birth, mobile numbers, physical address, other contact details like emails, alternative phone numbers, and next of kin.
Foreigners will use passports, while minors with SIM cards will be required to be accompanied by an adult who will register as the owner of the card and the minor as the user.
However, upon attaining the age of 18 and once they get IDs, the minors will be at liberty to change the registration details.
New customers will be required to register a new SIM card and provide their personal details
The CCK boss assured the public that the information collected during the registration exercise will be treated as confidential. The information where necessary will be availed to the authorities to the extent permitted by the law.