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Identifying the Users of Tanzania’s Mobiles

Tanzania’s government plans to block all mobile phone SIM cards that are not registered biometrically by Jan. 20. Officials say the move is aimed at cracking down on cybercrime, which jumped by 82% in Tanzania in 2017. The biometric registration will link SIM cards to identification cards or foreign passports and fingerprints. The strict cutoff deadline was imposed to force millions of Tanzanian mobile phone users who were slow or had missed earlier deadlines to register. Tanzania’s communication authorities say as of 5 Jan, just over half the country’s 44 million SIM cards had been registered.  A stimulus for this policy comes from the USA which has complained that Tanzania does not register its citizens. Recently the USA has said that it will not allow Nigerians, Eritreans and Tanzanians to apply for residence in the US for this reason.

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Alastair Tempest


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