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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New telecom rules have phone shops crying foul

New telecom rules have phone shops crying foul

New telecom rules have phone shops crying foul

Small-business owners would shoulder the costliest burden of a new crime-fighting initiative requiring telecom operators to turn over subscribers’ identity information to the Interior Ministry, mobile phone shop and internet café owners interviewed said.

Chan Rithy, a mobile network and internet provider in the capital’s Tuol Kork district, told the Post on Friday that the directive had been enacted without regard to people’s freedom to do business.

The hidden cameras and internet servers needed to store footage on customers’ identities and activities for at least three months would impose a huge economic burden on businesses like his, he said.

“It is a big pressure for us as small traders,” he said.

Sok Na, 27, a mobile phone and SIM card-seller in Dangkor district’s Damnak Sangkae commune, said many customers did not carry identification cards, which they were now required by law to show.

“We will be faced with no more customers if we demand that they show their identification cards to be recorded before giving them the mobile phones,” he said.

When queried, Chhay Sinarith, general director of the Interior Ministry’s security department, said he was not clear on pricings for the security cameras and internet servers, nor on the recommended technical specifications.

However, the more cameras were installed, and the bigger they were, the better, he added.

The directive is meant to reinforce national security, he said, adding that increasing numbers of people had been using telecommunications technology, including mobile phones and the internet, as a means to commit kidnappings and economic sabotage.

Providers of telecom services would be complicit in the committing of such crimes if they did not comply, he said.

“In the case of disobedience…[shop owners] will face the legal responsibility in court, because the terrorists used the mobile phones and the ambiguous locations of internet service providers as means to bring about the social insecurity,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at [email protected]

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