Business & Economy

Tuesday, 02 February 2010 12:33

Meet FICA’s sister, RICA

{pp}Like FICA, the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act, Act 70 or 2002 is designed to help law-enforcers to prevent crime. Like FICA, complying with RICA is destined to cause us a fair amount of frustration.

RICA has been in effect since 1 July last year, requiring a cellphone service provider to, before activating your SIM-card, verify and record your identity and address in the same way as banks do under FICA. (If the customer is a juristic person, an authorised human representative has to go through the process.)

As for existing customers, they have until 31 December 2010 to become RICA compliant. Anyone whose details remain unverified by then will not be wishing Granny a happy new year by phone from the beach. Service providers must terminate service. Employers, too, are burdened with RICA compliance.

In terms of sections 40(5) and 62C, businesses that provide activated SIM-cards to their staff must verify the details of the phone-user, and relay the information to the service provider. Non-compliance is punishable – by a fine of up to R2 million or imprisonment of up to 10 years! Section 41 requires a lost, stolen or destroyed cellphone or SIM-card to be reported to the police within “a reasonable period”. Nor is the old telephone regime off the hook, as it were. Telkom must go through the same process in respect of new customers, but there is no mention of existing fixed-line subscribers. Granny need not (yet?) fear Rica coming to snatch her lifeline to the world from its place on the hall table.

Contact Information:
Walkers Attorneys
Telephone: +27 21 464 1400
Fax: +27 21 462 2256

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