Committee recommends withdrawal of new bill


THE Bills and Legislative Committee has recommended that the Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) withdraws the Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2021.

The Committee made the recommendation when officials of MCA and a draft officer in the Attorney General’s office appeared before them in Parliament on Tuesday.

Chairman of BLC, John Maneniaru said the panelists and the Committee agreed on a number of amendments to some of the clauses. It is unclear what these recommendations are.

Maneniaru said MCA will deliver their decision when they appear before the Committee today.

Island Sun understands it is highly likely the host ministry will withdraw the bill.

And, since the Bill had gone through a first-reading in Parliament (on Monday this week), it will likewise have to be withdrawn on the floor.

The Bill aims to amend the Telecommunication Act 2009 to ensure that all SIM cards are registered.

It establishes the minimum age for purchasing Sim-cards at 15 and requires person to provide valid ID when purchasing the SIM-cards from the service providers or their agents.

The service providers and the agents will be responsible for establishing an electronic registry for recording accurate information to identify the purchasers.

Director of Communications in the Ministry of Communications and Aviation, Alwyn Danitofea informed BLC on Monday that it is important to have the amendment bill passed so that when a person commits a crime, they can be responsible for what they are doing.

“Without having a name register to SIM-cards, it will be hard to implement a cybercrime bill which is in the development process.

“Registration of sim cards is really important because when someone is interacting using mobile phones, we know the person who is communicating,” Danitofea said.

He said when there is no name attached to mobile phones, it has issues because if there is something wrong to a user or a client using the service, it’s difficult to tag the names to the person responsible. 

“These are the security challenges prior towards the end or 90s or early 2000s. Misuse of the technology is becoming obvious so other countries have done this.

“This is why it is important to have mobile phone SIM-cards to register to have a name tag register to the user,” Danitofea said.

Meanwhile, through the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Cyber Cooperation Programme are supporting Solomon Islands’ cybercrime legislative reform and development of necessary instruments to implement the legislation.

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