‘No sim-card registration will weaken cybercrime law’

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The implementation of the proposed cybercrime legislation, currently being developed, will be difficult without SIM-card registration.

Director of Communications in the Ministry of Communications and Aviation, Alwyn Danitofea informed the Bills and Legislation Committee during a hearing of the Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 2021 yesterday.

Mr Danitofea said 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 cyber crime 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.

He said they have completed a face-to-face consultation with the two Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the country and separate ones with the Government ministries and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to identify their views, as well as in provincial headquarters with provincial members and executives. 

He said the consultation also reached down to villages from the far eastern Solomon Islands to the west – across all nine provinces of the country.  

“So, from the consultations we had, we have come to finalise the Bill which is before us, coverage and accessibility was the main concern,” he said.

The Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 2021 provides for the telecommunication service providers to must register for recording the information of a person’s identity.

Section 78D says a service provider or agent must not sell a SIM-card to a person who is less than 18 years of age.

Meanwhile, trough 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.