PNG Cell Phone Company To Begin Monitoring Subscribers

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Measures intended to curb abuse, help implement Cybercrime laws

By Shirley Mauludu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 18, 2014) – Telecommunication company DIGICEL PNG will monitor all its subscribers starting next month following abuse of its communication services, National Information and Communication Technology Authority’s chief executive officer Charles Punaha said.

Digicel PNG in an email confirmed that they will start the registration process come early next month.

"Digicel PNG will commence their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration process from July 1 across Papua New Guinea.

"This proactive step is being taken in line with the PNG government’s intention, through National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA), to pass legislation ensuring that all SIMs are registered appropriately to the identity of their users."

Punaha said NICTA had met with Digicel and considered the registration of SIM cards.

However, Punaha said awareness would be carried out prior to the trial roll-out.

"We need to start undertaking public awareness. Otherwise when Digicel starts going out, people will get confused."

Earlier this year, Punaha said since the PNG communication market opened up for competition in 2007, there was no control measure in place.

"When we open up the market in 2007, there was no control in place so you can just walk down the road and buy a SIM card, without any identification. Unfortunately as we all know, that has resulted in us not having some records of, what particular numbers are allocated to individuals or to companies.

"We have seen abuse – people are abusing the services, where they are sending slangs and defamatory messages, to other people. Currently we cannot track who that particular SIM belongs to," Punaha said.

This system will see Digicel take a picture and finger print of their simcard holders and have them fill in a basic information form.

The registration of simcard holders will enable the implementation of Cybercrime laws.

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