Zimbabwean govt plans central subscriber database

September 20, 2016 • Government & Tech, South Africa, Telecoms & Mobile

Zimbabwe’s government plans to implement a National Central Subscriber Information Database System (NACSID) that some fear could be used by the state to mine telecom traffic data, in a move towards increased control of social media platforms and Over the Top (OTT) services, reports ITWeb. Telecoms industry regulator Potraz put the contract to supply and install NACSID out to tender, with details published in the government gazette of 09 September.

However, there are concerns that the database could be used for monitoring private telecom communications inside the country. A networking expert told ITWeb Africa under condition of anonymity, that the database “may be used to mine data from traffic” and added that this supported “calls” from President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government for regulation of social media.

The expert said a national database will make it easy for the government to monitor and it will not have to rely on operators to supply information. However, because of end-to-end encryption by Facebook and WhatsApp, it remains to be seen if such platforms can be monitored, the expert added. The government said it will use Chinese technology and expertise to gain control of social media platforms and while authorities intend to control and monitor Over the Top (OTT) services, officials say social media will not be banned.

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