Lesotho: Sim and Device Registration Pose Major Threats to Data Protection and Privacy

The Kingdom of Lesotho has drafted the Communications (Subscriber Identity Module and Mobile Device Registration) Regulations, 2021. The regulations are to be made pursuant to section 55 of the Communications Act, 2012 and will apply to corporate, private and commercial subscribers of mobile telecommunications services utilising SIM and subscribers of foreign licensees who are roaming on the network of a licensee in the Kingdom.1The objectives of the regulations under Regulation 4 include the provision of a regulatory framework for the registration of subscribers of mobile telecommunications services utilising SIM and mobile devices in Lesotho; and the establishment, control, administration and management of a Central Database of subscribers. Despite the objectives reflecting a legitimate need, the provisions have a far-reaching impact on privacy and data protection of telecom services users in Lesotho.