Government and opposition have different stances on the registration of mobile phones in Albania

Government and opposition have different stances on the registration of mobile phones in Albania

IBNA Special Report

Tirana, August 6, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

A debate has been triggered in the past few days in Albania in relation to the IMEI code, for the registration of mobile phones, where the government and opposition have entirely different stances in relation to this, but civil society has also become part of this debate.

The debate has been caused because the government’s decision takes effect today, August 6 and there’s a deadline for the registration process.

Basha: Citizens must not obey

Leader of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha has demanded from the citizens not to obey to such request. Present in the party’s elections in Tirana, the head of the DP has considered this as an unprecedented act in these 23 years and a big threat being made to the freedom of Albanians.

Considering the decision of the government to obtain the personal information of every mobile phone subscriber as a violation of the Constitution and the rights of the citizens, Basha called on the Albanian citizens to refuse this attempt of Edi Rama to eavesdrop and blackmail every Albanian citizen.

He said that Rama’s offer consists on threats, lies and theft.

“In April, European Court issued a ruling and told mobile phone companies: “You will be penalized if only you store these data, let alone if you give them to the government”, while the government of this country tells companies that it will penalize them if they don’t provide this information. The government tells the citizens that it will fine them if they don’t provide their personal data. This is the most open threat against the freedom of Albanians in these 23 years. This is being done by a man who has brought crime and criminals to parliament.  Where will the three billion USD that were given to CEZ come out? From the bank accounts of Edi Rama and Ilir Meta? Not at all! They will come out of the pockets of Albanian people. Cost of living has increased and they continue to increase. This is their offer”, declared the democrat leader.

Meanwhile, in a news conference, Basha said that on behalf of DP, he invites every Albanian who has a mobile phone not to react, to refuse Edi Rama’s decision, not to submit his personal information and to uphold his constitutional right which guarantees privacy and is above every government decision.

Basha also called on mobile phone companies in Albania to respect the Constitution of Albania and not hand the personal data of their subscribers to Edi Rama, adding that, “Otherwise, they will face civil and criminal lawsuits of the opposition and the citizens of the country and they will be held accountable for this outrageous irresponsibility through a massive boycott”.

Minister Harito explains the motives of this decision

Minister of State for Innovation and Public Administration, Milena Harito has reacted against the declarations of the opposition in relation to the IMEI code of mobile phones.

In her speech, Harito said that the more Lulzim Basha talks, the more regret there is about the fact that the Democratic Party has turned into a circus.

“The claim that we want to control the personal information of the citizens through mobile phones is part of the old propaganda, which raises accusations to smear the opponent, or even worse, it’s a result of the stupidity that characterizes the incompetent. The government has no business with the personal data of the citizens, but the government has a duty to fight the contraband of mobile phones and every mobile phone that enters Albania must be taxed. The famous IMEI code has nothing to do with the content of communication. It’s only a code, similar to the chassis of a car or a computer serial number. It’s as if to say that we can learn about who the driver is through the chassis number”, said Harito.

According to her, this is the simple truth and this goes in the direction decided by Albanians on June 23, Renaissance and not destruction; equality in front of the law, a powerful state and not a fatherland without a state.

Harito declared that Basha is capable of empty words, saying that it’s enough to ask those who voted for him as mayor and who will say that during these three years, they saw nothing else but words from him.

Citizens fear for their privacy

There have been reactions by the citizens in relation to the IMEI code. They say that they do not agree with the government’s decision. Different polls show their discontent about the registration of the IMEI code of their mobile phones. They fear a possible control of their privacy and the potential use of their data.

Under these circumstances, a large part of them refuse this registration, considering it as a breach of their privacy. Meanwhile, the government’s decision for the registration of the IMEI code takes effect today and according to the decision, whoever doesn’t comply with it within 90 days, will be given a 90 days fine and their phone service will be shut down. /ibna/