The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe will soon start pooling personal records of all registered mobile phone subscribers in a central server, with the data being used by law enforcement agencies to safeguard national security, it has emerged.
The development feeds into Government’s ongoing efforts to enhance cyber security following several shadowy groups attempting to instigate disturbances under the pretext of “democractic protests”.
It is also meant to fight cyber-crime which has seen many people lose money to mobile money scams.
Potraz last week invited companies to bid for the supply, installation and commissioning of a National Central Subscriber Information Database (Nacsid) – a system that allows authorities to store subscriber data.
Nacsid will assist with safeguarding national security as well as providing mobile-based emergency warning systems.
Establishment of Nacsid is provided for in terms of Statutory Instrument 95 of 2014, which – among other things – compels service providers to collect subscribers’ details and store it before activating any SIM card.
Service providers are compelled to submit to Potraz all data they collect from their customers.
The data includes: full name, permanent residential address, nationality, gender, subscriber identity number, and national identification number/passport number.
The regulations read in part: “The authority shall establish and maintain a central subscriber information database to be known as the Central Subscriber Information Database in which all subscriber information shall be stored.
“The creation of database shall enable the authority to assist with operation of the emergency call services or assisting emergency services; and assist with the provision of mobile-based emergency warning systems.”
Many people have suffered at the hands of cyber bullies, with one such victim being model Tafadzwa Mushunje who was falsely accused of injecting a toddler with HIV-infected blood. In June 2016, a suspected paedophile circulated images of two semi-nude girls on WhatsApp, and police are still hunting for him.
To protect citizens’ privacy, the SI sets stringent conditions for access to the information.
The law also states that any person aggrieved by alleged unlawful use of his/her personal data shall have the right to seek legal redress.
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