ZICTA SIM REGISTRATION AND DEACTIVATION LEGALITY — SI 65 ACCESS – PETITION
LUSAKA, Friday, December 06, 2013 – I, Kasebamashila Kaseba, a Lusaka literary and research journalist (media and communication consultant) on 15th November, 2013, wrote an email to Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) Director General (posted on 20th November, 2013) in respect of ZICTA SIM registration and deactivation which threaten my right and access to information and communication. ZICTA phoned on Monday, 25th November, 2013 to acknowledge receipt and to promise a written reply which is yet to come. ZICTA has on the other hand continued its countdown to 31st December, 2013. I summarise my 12 grounds below.
Omission of SI 65 of 2011 or Act 15 of 2009
ZICTA Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) registration and deactivation countdown advertisements have omitted to cite and name and publish SI 65 of 2011 or Act 15 of 2009. Registration “Form 1, Regulation 13” have omitted the SI number “65” or “To be completed in triplicate” as well as omitted SIM registration deadline and deactivation penalty.
The website www.zicta.zm has omitted SI 65 of 2011. ZICTA phone numbers were unanswered or answered by machines.
The Government Printers, before and since Tuesday, 16th October, 2012 to today, has out of print SI 65 for K6. One contact with bound volumes including SI 65 is selling for K300 from K500 in 2011. One newspaper front page countdown advert is about K1,800 equivalent to buying 311 copies. Therefore, I wish to know how ZICTA will enforce a law, with grave and extreme consequences, that is not cited or named or published towards the deadline, especially at the expense of the quality of service.
SI 65 of 4th July, 2011 by former Communications and Transport Minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa promoted by Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa D. Mukanga (misdated it for 28th June, 2011) for ZICTA does not have SIM deactivation countdown and deadline. Also refer to the PF Manifesto on “Science and Technology Development” on page 41.
ZICTA has not acknowledged SIM card registration for a card of K2.50 is equivalent or triple to registration with PACRA, ZRA and NAPSA in contradiction of ease and speed of business or pre-emption of Access to Information bill.
Guarantee of security
ZICTA has not acknowledged repeat registrations of ZAMTEL and TELECEL (MTN) who had SIM registers or double registration with Mobile Money. ZICTA’s guarantee of confidentiality and security has not acknowledged AIRTEL change of ownership thrice, MTN twice, ZAMTEL twice plus loss of SIM card registers.
Sim Cards cannot be doubled licenced
A SIM card is already a register number and a card that is personal to its subscriber (owner) and is already double registered (by serial and network number) to a ZICTA licensed “electronic communication network or service provider” also called Mobile Service Provider (MSP). Therefore, a SIM card cannot be ZICTA double licensed or profiled just as Bank of Zambia (BOZ), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA), Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), Energy Regulation Board (ERB), National Water and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) do not license or register personal file cards of clients of individual banks, insurers, lawyers, electricity providers and water suppliers respectively.
ZICTA acting like another MSP
ZICTA should instead of SIM cards registration, license a fourth and more MSPs. SIM registration costs more than establishment of another MSP. However, ZICTA SIM registration and construction of towers, only lacking signal, makes ZICTA another MSP or a competitor, not an authority. It sounds like ERB building power stations and filling stations except supplying the electricity or fuel.
ZICTA security excuse is mandate of Police
ZICTA’s repeated security reason is the mandate of Zambia Police (ZP) whose reports for lost phones and SIM cards is K22.50 the price of nine new SIM cards. ZICTA’s signposting of residential area roads is at the expense of its mandate of subscribers’ personal security and safety of “distress calls” for ambulance and postal actual services. And without word on ZAMTEL poor distribution of fixed lines in the same residential areas.
ZICTA’s false security alert is when Ministry of Home Affairs, the ministry for ZP, is revising NRCs for security reasons and without securing lost NRCs. MSPs, ISPs or dealers or subscribers have not publicly requested ZICTA and ZP for security. Instead, ZICTA has had to criminalise SIM cards or their possession (not their use) in order to harass and intimidate innocent citizens.
ZICTA Ignoring Subscribers
ZICTA has ignored subscribers and expert advice and criticism on the scale of business disturbance and ZICTA’s over expenditure and catalogue of contradictions. SI 65, will usurp other Acts, beyond its parent Act including the constitution’s presidential state of public emergency powers.
Another example, 10.6 million SIM cards for 13 million people is twice more than Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) 5.1 million voter registration cards or a referendum only beaten by Central Statistical Office (CSO) national census. ECZ register of voters from NRCs is only used after verification or cleaning yet ZICTA will close SIM registration with deactivation in seconds or click of button. And worse, deactivation will be during the festive season or industrial break in towns or planting season in rural areas.
Power play by ZICTA
ZICTA as an authority is engaged in a desperate power play with MSPs, ISPs, dealers and subscribers. What logic is SIM card security by deactivation that says hackers and hijackers interrupt SIM cards; therefore ZICTA will secure them from criminals through deactivation. SIM deactivation whether by ZICTA or hackers is criminal and criminalisation of subscribers (owners) and is outside SI 65. Lawlessness secures no one. Act 15 of 2009 provides for both “Appeal” and “Immunity” the latter being subject to “good faith” of “performance” “under the Act”. SI 65 could be read with “The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers Act, 04), 2010”.
ZICTA must realise that ICTs in developed nations are generally government funded (not just regulated) with public funds the same being spent on SIM card registration and deactivation. Finally, ZICTA is accountable and answerable to the public or subscribers not vice versa.
By Kasebamashila Kaseba