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Several countries e.g Tanzania have or are in the process of ensuring that all SIM cards in their jurisdiction are registered by the mobile operators who serve them. Of course, one reason cited for doing so is to help track criminals. This indeed sounds a noble idea. However, it does result to infringement of subscribers' privacy especially owing to the fact that the investigators can storm into the mobile phone companies and be given access to the subscribers details without subscriber's consent. Moreover, mobile phone companies will have to incur additional cost to provide for the additional data storage and mining capabilities. The additional cost will reduce the pace towards universal access. Is this project therefore a solution in search of a problem?

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Yes Maina, we may need it. However, do you think there will be a consultation with the subscriber before the investigators are given access to their details? My opinion is, not very likely. The investigators will indeed only approach the providers whom they know of.
Bwana Mwita, yes, this is infringement of the people's privacy as long as the mobile telcos do not ask for a go ahead in accessing your information, however, it is necessary as you have aptly put it, to wade off criminals in their actions.

Just to ask, if you deposit money in bank A, doesn't the Central Bank have access to your account without your permission?
In my opinion, it is inevitable to have the SIM cards registered and not just to keep the criminals off, but for promotion of economy, development of social development and for ease interaction.

Maybe the registration of SIM cards is an opportunity in disguise!!!




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