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Biometrics check mandatory for SIM card purchases in Thailand

Thailand is making facial or fingerprint scans mandatory for those obtaining new SIM cards, effective December 15.

According to a report by DW, this is being implemented in an effort to combat electronic fraud and to enhance mobile banking security.

“This is not aimed at tracking users, explained regulatory official Takorn Tantasith, “but enhancing security, especially in the case of mobile payments.”

Thai nationals will have their fingerprints or facial scans matched against data on their national ID cards. Foreigners buying SIM cards in Thailand will have their faces scanned and matched against their passport photographs.

Authorities say the biometric data will be kept “private and safe”.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecommunications operator, blamed a fourth-quarter loss on the cost of implementing a government initiative to register fingerprints with phone numbers.

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