Cell owners urged to respect new Act

THE Regulation of Interception of Communication and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act is confusing and, so, consumers seem reluctant to register.

THE Regulation of Interception of Communication and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act is confusing and, so, consumers seem reluctant to register.

Altech Autopage Cellular managing director James Rutherfoord said since the act (Rica) became to law their call centres and branches had been inundated with queries from consumers.

It is of great concern that many consumers seem unaware that they have to register their SIM cards, used in cellphones and modems, with a service provider, Rutherfoord said.

He answered some of the most common questions about Rica .

What is Rica?

Rica is a new act intended to curb cellphones being used by criminals, especially organised crime syndicates, and to allow law enforcement agents to intercept cellphone communications if there is any suspicion of crime.

The act requires operators to keep detailed information about clients as well as about all cellphones and SIM cards.

What information must I provide?

Register your SIM card(s) at the nearest branch or retail store of your or any other service provider. You must supply your full name, identity or passport numbers, residential address and business or postal address.

If you live in an informal settlement you must give the address of the closest community centre where post is collected. Take along a utility bill, latest bank statement or company letterhead. You must verify the details face to face and bring with you a picture ID such as a passport or an ID document.

What happens if you do not register your existing SIM card?

Since July 1 2009 the industry has given SIM card holders an 18-month period to register. Once this period lapses subscribers who have not complied will be automatically disconnected from the network or service provider.

What can a law enforcement agent request from your service provider?

Law enforcement agencies can ask your service provider to confirm that you are a customer and provide them with your telephone number. Any requests for information must be made in writing.

Are there any penalties for not reporting a lost or destroyed SIM card?

If you do not blacklist a lost, stolen or destroyed SIM card or handset, you are guilty of a criminal offence. If your phone or a SIM card registered in your name is used in a crime, you might be held accountable for it.

Can you register with your service provider rather than the network?

If you are a subscriber with an independent service provider such as Altech Autopage Cellular, you can register with any of its stores or outlets.

What about registering my children?

Children's SIM cards, phones and contracts are usually registered under the names of their parents or guardians. The parent or guardian that holds the contract will need to register under Rica or provide the minor with a certified copy of his or her ID, a letter and a copy of a utility bill.

Is a driver's licence acceptable for Rica?

No, you may not register with your South African driver's licence.

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