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Namibia no longer requires biometrics as part of SIM card registration

Namibia no longer requires biometrics as part of SIM card registration

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) mandated registration of SIM cards on January 1st, 2023. They recently removed the requirement for capturing biometric data as part of the registration process.

Not everyone has changed their position on this point, however.

CRAN Chief Executive Emilia Nghikembua said that biometric data will no longer be required for SIM card registration, though customers can still voluntarily share biometric information.

Some operators will only require the information that is outlined in the regulations, including the customer’s name, address, Namibian ID, passport, or any other official identity document issued by the Namibian government or a foreign country.

Mobile Telecommunications reportedly is choosing a different path. Executives say they will continue requiring biometrics as part of its SIM card registration, according to news outlet Observer 24.

The company says it likes the greater authentication capabilities of biometrics. MTC now faces the prospect of government sanctions.

The registration requirements is a national initiative with the goal of enhancing e-commerce activities as well as supporting the investigation of crimes committed with the aid of cellphones.

“There are also benefits and use cases directly facilitated by the registration of digital identities,” such as increased usage of online services such as virtual teaching and learning, mobile banking, and online shopping, says Nghikembua in a release.

“All telecommunications operators will allow customers to register their SIM cards via processes that do not require mandatory collection of biometric data. We are also pleased that the operators have made good progress and encourage all consumers to ensure that their SIM cards are registered before the deadline of 31 December 2023,” she says.

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