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Facial recognition tool nets over 6M SIM card fraudsters in India in 6 months

Mozambique pushes ahead with registration plan
Facial recognition tool nets over 6M SIM card fraudsters in India in 6 months
 

Facial recognition tool ASTR, developed by the Center for the Development of Telematics (C-DoT) of India’s Department of Telecommunications, has been vital in the identification and disconnection of over six million untrusted SIM card connections this year.

According to Money Control, these disconnections have been carried out over the past six months.

This is not the first time India is breaking up fraudulent SIM connections using the facial recognition system. In May, about 17,000 SIM cards were deactivated in two states using the ASTR system. Facial recognition software also reportedly helped prevent about 10,000 incidents of voter fraud during a village election later the same month.

The ASTR system identifies a face by matching a photo or video against an image in the SIM card subscriber database to determine if a profile is linked to more than the number of SIM cards permitted for one ID.

In some of the cases, the system found that one Aadhaar digital ID was linked to hundreds of phone purchases, as opposed to the maximum of number of nine SIM cards which the government allows for one Aadhaar identity, the outlet notes.

Speaking about the facial recognition system, C-DoT CEO Rajkumar Upadhyay said the platform, with mega data processing capabilities, is also able to detect biometric spoof attempts thanks to the peculiarity of certain unique facial vectors such as a person’s lips and eyes.

The official said in the past months, the system discovered that about 1,000 to 2,000 faces with similar vectors were linked to SIM card purchases, and the perpetrators use such irregular connections to defraud gullible citizens.

Once such connections are detected, the telecoms company to whose network the SIM card is connected, is notified for action. The lines are eventually disconnected after 60 days if the users fail to share their know your customer (KYC) details.

Upadhyay says they have also been working to deactivate WhatsApp accounts which are identified to have been set up using some of such fraudulent SIM cards.

Mozambique reiterates plan to make facial recognition part of SIM registration

In a bid to better prevent such fraudulent SIM registrations, Mozambique has re-echoed its plan to introduce a facial recognition and fingerprints biometrics system for SIM card registration in the country.

The plan was first unveiled in April by the country’s Communications Regulatory Authority (INCM).

The INCM said recently that the novelty will come alive early next year, 360 Mozambique reports.

The agency’s Director of Communications and Statistics Services, Massingue Apala, notes that the move, which is meant to curb the rate of SIM-related fraud, is in tandem with new government regulations decreed in April.

Apala is quoted as saying during a meeting to create awareness on the new regulations that SIM card registration will henceforth be done with facial recognition “because we need to know who is who.”

The SIM card registration drive is expected to take off in January for the estimated 16 million mobile services users in the Southeastern African country of 32 million people.

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