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I am a RICA criminal

The RICA law requiring all cellular SIM cards to be registered came into effect on 1 July. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tests the law and confesses to a new crime…

As of yesterday, I am a criminal.

I brazenly walked into a large CNA outlet, stepped up to the cellphone service kiosk, and without any form of identification demanded two starter packs, one with a Vodacom phone number and one with MTN. In full sight of anyone who bothered to look, I took the packs to the cashier and handed over R1,98 to cover the 99c cost of each pack.

It gets worse.

Once I got home, in total secrecy, I slipped the SIM cards from each provider into two old phones, and switched them on. The MTN card worked immediately, and I was able to begin receiving calls without any further ado. The Vodacom card required me to dial 100 to activate it, and I could then start receiving calls on that phone too.

In the above process, I violated the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) about half a dozen times – that I know about. The law came into effect on 1 July this year, even though it had been passed back in 2003. Various impracticalities, mainly relating to the process of identifying cellphone users and SIM card owners, delayed its implementation. Following various amendments, it now criminalises a range of acts of commission and omission that previously were normal everyday practice.



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Posted in the category: Insight, News, Technology

Mobile users reveal their fears

McAfee Inc used the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to announce findings from new research in developed countries that reveals that almost three out of four mobile consumers are concerned about the security of today’s and tomorrow’s mobile services.

Mobile Security reportNo less than 72% of mobile consumers in the USA, United Kingdom and Japan are concerned about the security of today’s and tomorrow’s mobile services, such as mobile multimedia downloads, mobile payments and mobile ticketing.

This was the central finding of the McAfee Mobile Security Report 2008, released at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The report discusses in detail users’ experiences of traditional and emerging mobile services and their awareness and perceptions of mobile security issues.

The following statistics must be viewed in the context of highly developed markets – 2000 respondents were interviewed across three of the world’s leading industrial nations. The relevance therefore declines when applied to developing markets.


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Posted in the category: Insight, Technology, Trends

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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