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SIM fraudsters nettle South Asia; biometrics pushed as answer

SIM fraudsters nettle South Asia; biometrics pushed as answer

India continues to inch closer to requiring fingerprint scans when companies issue SIM cards. Officials are looking at crime and terrorism trends in neighboring Pakistan in pushing for the change.

The tabled Telecommunications Bill 2023 contains draft language that would enable the central government to require telcos to gather biometrics and attach it to SIM records, according to Indian liberal-leaning publisher The Statesman.

(The law also allows the government to unilaterally seat certain telco industry executives as chair of the Telecom Regulatory Authority.)

Liveness likely will be the solution in India.

Across the border in Pakistan, officials are digesting a government report stating that 80,000 SIMS had been registered in the last four years using silicon thumb prints, presumably gathered from people defrauded in the countryside.

The report is summarized in regional privately held new publisher SAMAA. A link to the report itself could not be located.

There are media reports, also from SAMAA, indicating that the government is worried about fraudulent cards being used by radicalized Afghans living in Pakistan. Unregistered SIMs can be had in border towns between the two nations.

Complicating the situation are reports that staff at Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority are helping Afghans to get their names linked to those of Pakistani citizens.

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