January 24, 2016 -
In an effort to restrict mobile phone users from taking part in activities that threaten national security, the Saudi Ministry of Interior will fingerprint anyone looking to buy a SIM card as a security measure, according to a report by the Middle East Eye.
Fingerprint data will be shared with the kingdom’s National Information Centre to verify the identity of any buyer who purchases a SIM card.
The new law, which was passed in September 2015, states that Saudis must give fingerprints to access “services provided by employees of the communications sector,” so it is unclear if the new law applies to SIM cards only or if it will apply to wider internet-related activity.
According to the report: “The first phase of the fingerprinting scheme is being implemented from today (Tuesday). The decision was taken last year but implementation has been delayed until this year because some of the mobile phone companies working in the kingdom had to get fingerprint-reading equipment from outside Saudi Arabia.”
Previously reported, this past December the Bangladesh government began biometrics registration of mobile-phone SIM card holders due to mounting complaints of fake and unregistered cards being used for criminal activities.