Indian dept. of telecommunication to consider biometric verification for SIM cards

Momentum has been gathering quickly to force a move that would see Indian SIM card sales verified with biometrics. Now the department of telecommunication (DoT) has been asked to examine the feasibility of a mandate.

According to a report in LivePunjab.com, the home home ministry — which made the DoT directive — has also suggested that the department should maintain a database of biometric information from SIM card sales, and link it into the National Intelligence Grid.

As we reported previously, last month, Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar made a plea to the home affairs ministry that a mandate be enforced, and penalties be established for those who don’t participate.

The DoT had previously made physical verification mandatory, though there are increasing reports to suggest it’s had little effect.

It’s not just India that’s looking to biometric verification for SIM card sales.

An early instance, this has long been a debate in Pakistan as well. Early this year, the government mandated biometric verification, though telecoms and the government had a tough time finding middle ground on the issue.

In that case, the biometric verification directive came from the Ministry of the Interior, which ordered the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to stop all cellular mobile operators from selling new SIMS and withhold the stock of SIMS from all sales channels.

At the time, it was reported that Nadra’s earnings from the mandate were being called into question by telecoms.

The Nigerian Communications Commission has also recently spearheaded a similar system. 

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