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TRC ultimatum to mobile phone companies

COLOMBO: The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Sri Lanka will declare an ultimatum to mobile phone companies next week to re-register their subscribers for the issue of mobile Ownership Certificates in compliance with new TRC regulations to curb the criminal usage of mobile phones.

The Commission’s Director General Priyantha Kariyapperuma said on Monday, he will announce a time frame for the mobile network companies, requiring them to re register their customer bases as they meet next week to discuss the progress of registrations.

Mobile service providers are supposed to issue Certificates of Ownership for each subscriber identity issued by them to their customers under new TRC regulations.

Kariyapperuma said, “the mobile companies had responded well to the TRC’s ew directive. Tigo has taken steps to distribute plastic cards containing the the name, telephone number and NIC number or Passport number of their customers to make it convenient for their customers.”

The registration of mobile phone users was made mandatory by the Commission since such data could be used to avert irregularities and illegal activities created by mobile phones to, minimise any potential threat to national security.

Asked if this would not mean intruding into one’s privacy on the grounds that mobile phones and personal computers are considered as one’s personal belongings, Kariyapperuma said, that having a certificate for the ownership of a mobile sim does not mean that one was going to be asked by each and every policeman on the way to produce one’s phone for identification or anything except in extreme cases associated with crime or terrorism where a mobile phone may be located in that particular spot.

”It is not something like a driving license. It is positioned to protect the civil society. The new regulations do not violate fundamental rights.

It is only a design to curb the criminal use of phones,” he said.

If your mobile phone is so personal, the TRC is asking you to make it more personal by registering your ownership with your personal name attached to it your identity, he added.

“When the TRC moved the regulations a few months ago, some people saw a storm in a tea cup, and others downplayed with it for political advantage to create unrest in the minds of the public,” he said.

Speaking on the current progress of registrations, he said , all four service providers had responded to the TRC’s call with understanding , and their service centers have provided numbers to carry out the registration process. ”

They have registered most of the subscribers. The service is free of charge,” he said.

In fact we asked the service providers not to charge any money on subscribers as they are supposed to have maintained records of the people who use their services.

”We are well aware of the situation that there are cases where the original subscriber has transferred his sim without the knowledge of the service provider, In such cases, subscribers can register their new ownership to that particular sim,” he said.

”The Director General said,” there is no magic involved in this, for most countries including India have adopted the system.”

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