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The Commission is mandated by the Telecommunications Act (2009) to regulate the telecommunications sector and as such, maintains its policy of assisting complainants to address complaints directly to their service provider, as the first step towards resolving individual problems. However, the Commission can be requested or may, of its own volition, carry out investigations into matters related to market, service providers, services, anti-competition or other such issues.

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(TCSI) Solomon Islands’ largest mobile service provider, Our Telekom has entered into an information sharing agreement with the Police.

A deal was sealed between the two parties last week at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara when the Police Commissioner (Ag) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Telekom’s CEO to pave the way forward for the information sharing arrangement.

The MoU will be in place for an initial period of 2 years and allows Our Telekom to support the RSIPF’s investigations into ‘communication related matters’.

Under the agreement, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) will be able to access mobile data records, call records and location of mobile devices connected to Our Telekom’s network.

“This MoU establishes a broad framework to assist the RSIPF facilitate, share and exchange information including call searches pertaining to criminal investigations and reported complaints regarding stolen mobiles through home invasions, break and enter into vehicles, theft and pick-pocketing,” the Commissioner was quoted as saying.

The deal is expected to boost the Police’s criminal investigation capabilities due to Our Telekom’s large mobile service subscriber base and network coverage throughout the country.

The local telecommunications giant boasts 95% network coverage throughout the Solomon Islands and lays claim to a majority of the almost half a million mobile service subscribers in the country.

But the deal will also have privacy safeguards in place, stipulating that all information exchanged between the two parties be done in accordance with strict legal guidelines.

“RSIPF and Solomon Telekom acknowledge the importance of exchange of information in their line of duties including personal and confidential information which is subject to legislative requirements,” the Commissioner revealed in a press statement released by the Police.

Protocols will also be established to handle any information shared under the agreement including the appointment of authorised officers within the two organisations to handle requests.

Moreover, MoU also restricts both parties from sharing any information obtained under the agreement to any third party without court approval.

“Under the MoU, the RSIPF and Solomon Telekom agree not to disclose any confidential information relating to this MoU to any third Party, without prior written approval from the other Party, unless the disclosure is directly related to a subpoena, warrant or other legislative obligation," Commissioner Mangau explained in his statement.

In cases where time may be of the essence, the agreement will also cater for the fast-tracking of requests to allow police to respond quickly and effectively to urgent matters.

“In cases that may involve either life and death situations, Solomon Telekom shall undertake all its best effort to provide the information as soon as possible, if the request is sent to them by police in any means of investigation,” Commissioner of Police, Mangau emphasised.