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Chapter One, Bloggers sue ZICTA


CHAPTER One Foundation Limited and Bloggers of Zambia limited, have filed a petition in the High Court, asking it to order ZICTA to stop the collection, processing and retention of live facial photographs as a precondition to registration by mobile network providers as it amounts to invasion of privacy.

The petitioners want a declaration that the said directive by Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) requiring that mobile network operators collect and process live facial photographs of natural persons who are mobile service subscribers as a prerequisite to registration of mobile network services is unconditional. They also want the already collected photographs removed from all records and systems.

Chapter One Foundation Limited and Bloggers of Zambia Limited in their petition stated that ZICTA issued a directive to all mobile network operators allegedly pursuant to SI no.65 of 2011 to ensure that all Sim card registrations and replacements conducted from September 1, 2019 to date contain live facial images as well as identification.

And that subscribers who fail to comply with the directive would result in disconnection from services.

Chapter One Foundation stated that after a meeting with the respondent on June 7, this year, the regulator said it would  halt registration stating that it was in the process of enhancing the methods being used to conduct sim card registration and would direct mobile network operators to suspend the live facial photographs exercise.

But to date, the petitioners contended that ZICTA had not communicated the suspension of the exercise to the general public.

The petitioners contend the exercise was in violation of articles 17 and  20(1) and (2).

“The intended and unlawful suspension of mobile network services for people who have already registered their sim cards who fail to submit live facial photographs will cut countless citizens off from communications and various services associated with their sim cards such as mobile banking and other financial services. As such, importance of mobile network services to the exercise of freedom of expression and access to information cannot be overstated,” they stated.


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