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After a period, failure by a consumer to register an existing SIM card will result in disconnection from its telecommunications network and services provider. Telecommunications operators nonetheless, are not permitted to disconnect any consumer on account of SIM card registration until the completion process of the registration which will be officially announced to the general public and at which those who are yet unregistered will be disconnected.15


All consumers’ data collected will be in reserve confidentially for storage in a secure central database and its usage will only be for purposes permitted under the law.16


IMPLICATIONS OF THE DIRECTIVES


The telecommunications sector in Africa relies largely on mobile services for general and business communications.17


The use of directives to regulate mobile communications has been highly controversial. While it may be true that mobile services are a chosen communication device for criminals, a survey of prepaid mobile communications network and services regulation and registration policies among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states, suggests that it is not necessarily true that registration of prepaid mobile services will act as a deterrent to those who are serious about committing criminal or terrorist acts. The research in fact argues that it may on the contrary lead criminals to resort to identity fraud to obtain prepaid services.18


In countries such as Canada and Austria where detailed studies were carried out to discover whether mobile communications consumers should be registered,19 two different conclusions were reached. Although Austria favoured such a registration, Canada rejected it because there were no proofs that it would reduce crime.20 In rejecting the registration of SIM cards, the Canadian Privacy Commissioner states:


“While it may be true that prepaid mobile phones are a chosen communication device for criminals and terrorists, it is not necessarily true that registration of prepaid mobile phones will act as deterrent to those who are serious about committing criminal or terrorist act.” 21


15 A. Eze, This Day Live, ‘No Yet for SIM Card registration’ (online)


http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/deadline-yet-forsim-card-registration/104030 [01 December 2011] 16 With a few exceptions such as Kenya directing that the data collected will remain with the respective


communications services providers but will be treated with strict confidence. 17 Because of mobility, cheaper tariffs, more value-added services such as MMS and Internet, etcetera. 18 Ibid. at fn 8 19 The studies was carried on prepaid mobile users since some form of registration for contract mobile


users is needed to perform some tasks such as sending and receiving billing information. 20 Other countries like Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland also rejected


prepaid registration after a consultation process. See Privacy rights and prepaid communication services, Centre for policy research and technology, Simon Fraser University Vancouver, 17 March


2005, online at www.sfu.ca/cprost/prepaid/ 21 Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, News Room, News Releases, 25 November 2002, http://www.priv.gc.ca/media/le_021125_e.cfm [06 December 2011]. See Also, I. S. Nwankwo, ‘Art II:


2011©Chikaodili Juliet Hemeson


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