OC files reference on SIM registration

The Ombudsman Commission has filed a special Supreme Court reference, pursuant to its powers under section 19 of the Constitution, challenging the legality of the SIM Card Registration Regulation 2016.

This requires all mobile phone device users in PNG to register their SIM cards.

The Ombudsman Commission filed the special Supreme Court reference on January 31st, 2019.

In 2016 the head of state enacted the SIM card registration regulation, in accordance with the advice of the NEC under section 216 of the National Information and Telecommunication Technology Act 2009.

The SRC Regulation binds all licensed telecommunication service providers and all persons who use SIM cards in PNG.

The Ombudsman Commission in a statement says the SRC regulation raises questions, relating to the PNG Constitution, as to whether or not a subsidiary law restricts qualified rights and freedom under the constitution and complies with section 38(2) of the constitution.

This provision of the constitution is on general qualifications on qualified rights.

Other constitution law provisions relevant to the reference are section 39 of the constitution ("Reasonably justifiable in a democratic society", etc, sections 44 to 47 and section 49 of the constitution on right to privacy).

The Ombudsman Commission has served a copy of the reference on the office of the Attorney General, and looks forward to any interested party joining.

The Supreme Court is yet to allocate a date for the first direction hearing of the reference.

Sally Pokiton