Sri Lanka reviewing proposal on compulsory SMS banking alerts

ECONOMYNEXT  – Sri Lanka is reviewing a proposal made earlier in the year to mandate real time alerts on banking transactions, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said.

"We are reviewing the proposal," Coomaraswamy said.

A roadmap for central bank’s reform and monetary policy in 2018 said text message and email alerts will be made compulsory.

"We will mandate real-time SMS/e-mail alerts for transactions made through debit/credit cards, internet banking and mobile phone based banking," the roadmap said.

At the moment text message alerts are voluntary and some people use it to double check credit card transactions.

But Sri Lanka does not have privacy laws and mobile networks have been used in the past by authorities to illegally tap into people’s conversations.

Critics have also warned that individual freedom and democracy has been threatened and the ground work for a police state has been laid by a Pakistan-style national citizen’s database which has been brought in the guise of providing an e-NIC.

The database can be queried by the defence secretary without a court order and while people in high places can avoid giving information. In additional to personal data, an entire family tree is built in the system.

Through a gazette notice, the state can demand almost unlimited personal or other information. By linking multiple databases, activities of citizens, who are engaging in lawful or political work can be easily tracked, critics have warned.

Sri Lanka’s state has had authoritarian tendencies in the past. (Colombo/Sept06/2018)





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