Mobile phone registration in Papua New Guinea: Will the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?
Commentary: The government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has introduced a requirement for mobile phone registration. This commentary is a comprehensive analysis of the registration regulation, the process and key challenges. The paper is based on close observation of developments over several years, including attendance at court cases on the issue. The commentary includes: a description of the regulation, definitions of relevant terminology, a timeline of events, reflections on personal experiences, comparison to other countries, and discussion of related issues. In weighing costs against benefits, the author aims to determine the value of such a regulation. A key concern is the risk of poor and disadvantaged people being excluded from mobile phone ownership. While many countries in Africa and elsewhere have introduced similar requirements for registration with the stated objective of improving security, there is little evidence available that this measure does in fact reduce crime. Additionally, in Papua New Guinea, most people do not have any form of written identification documentation, which makes the process of mobile phone registration challenging.
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