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23 December 2017


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Baffling, confusing and utterly inconvenient for rural phone users. That's Ok send them back to the stone age while those in urban centres are making a dash to have their phones registered under their names.

Like the NID project, this one will also to serve its purpose!

NICTA is governed by the 2004 International Telecoms Union (ITU) Radio Regulations. This is the international treaty which governs the allocations of radio spectrum and has the force of international law - to make sure for example that radio broadcasts don't interfere with military search and rescue.

They have changed their name (they used to be the PNG Telecoms Authority), but they are the ones who hold the ultimate power.

I had a few 'interesting discussions' with them about satellite internet to break Telekom PNG's monopoly which seem to have born fruit.

They were previously known as PANGTEL and have a good web site.

This looks very much like Big Brother at work.

It also looks like a reactionary effort from the O’Neill government to control what is published on social media.

The objective of SIM Card registration appears fairly innocent and useful but once you pry into the details it gets decidedly suspicious.

Here is what the Regulations says: “The objective of this Regulation is to provide a regulatory framework for the registration of all SIM Card users, and for the control, administration, and management of the Subscriber Information Database”.

It’s that Subscriber Information Database that is most worrisome. The information going on to it includes “the subscribers photo, name, date of birth, gender, address (postal and/or physical address), email address, etc. and details of valid identification documents of the subscriber”.

They want to know where you live and your email address; they also want a photograph of you. The obvious question is why?

That’s when it gets even murkier.

The reasons they give on the official NICTA website are to “help law enforcing agencies to identify SIM card owners; track criminals using phones for illegal activities; curb other negative incidents such as loss of phone through theft, nuisance/hate text messages, fraud, threats or inciting violence, and help service providers know their customers better”.

With regard to the confidentiality of the information NICTA says “Your personal information will be kept confidential by the service provider in a secure data base. Your information shall NOT be disclosed to any person unless authorised in writing by law enforcing agencies or court of law.”

That last bit is the killer, the cops and the courts can authorise disclosure. Handy if you have the Police Commissioner and/or the Chief Justice in your pocket.

As of today there is a week left to register your SIM.

According to Digicel you have to “visit a SIM registration point closest to you. Remember to bring your ID along. Fill in a form and submit it to the agent.

The agent will then capture a few details and take a picture of:
The form
The ID (Passport, NID, Driver's License, Work ID)
The individual.

It is a regulatory requirement. We must have some form of ID and we have made the list of applicable IDs as wide as possible. If you do not have an ID, a letter from a reputable person will suffice. We are unable to provide a SIM card without an ID or letter”.

Alright, you are one of the 4 in 10 people in PNG with a mobile phone. You live in a village on the Yuat River near where it meets the Central Range.

You are about 120 kilometres south of your nearest Digicel agent in Wewak.

Assuming you’ve actually heard of the new regulation and have got a driver’s licence or some other form of identification how are you going to get down there to register your SIM?

If you don’t your SIM could be de-registered and you’ll lose your service.

Makes for an interesting time I think.

Deep in the earliest year of this decade, there came to be a brighter star heralding ‘self-directing content delivery’ which is supposedly a boon if not the salvation of inquisitiveness among humans on planet Earth. Gatherings of appreciation yielded prophesy that it will be good if “merging of mass communication outlets – print, television, radio, the Internet along with portable and interactive technologies through various digital media platforms”.
...says Higgins,
Quantification physics brought this revelation to bureaucratic central business district and behold, IT was found to be in need of a census. So each Meri and Joe of the land is invited to make a mark sim-ingly in devout allegiance with amassed principle.
Local bi-archy of Di and Be are towering on, rejoicing folk voicing communication while roaming.
Constant governance abeying, now awaking for ‘an efficient ICT sector’, so ‘ensuring industry compliance’, seeks to be closely with stakeholders. Is this for ‘self-directing content delivery’?
In a digit signalling environment, perhaps NICTA might expound on its ‘make’ where its intent is "Making ICT services work in Papua New Guinea's public interest"

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