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SIMS not registered, verified with digital IDs in Nigeria blocked

Pakistan cracks down on illegals registrations, Indian system awarded
SIMS not registered, verified with digital IDs in Nigeria blocked

Millions of SIM cards in Nigeria have been disconnected by mobile network operators with the passing of the February 28 deadline for registration with the account-holders national digital identity, the NIN (National Identity Number).

MTN has blocked 4.2 million subscriptions, Leadership reports. It appears some of the affected subscribers have tried to register their NIN, only to find it could not be verified by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

The directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to move from a partial block on unregistered SIMs to a full block was issued in December.

NCC Spokesman Reuben Muoka told Channels Television that in cases where people have attempted to register their SIM with their NIN and been blocked, it is likely due to inconsistency between the data the mobile account and national digital ID are registered with, such as their name.

Those subscribers will have to visit service provider’s facilities in person to address any errors, Muoka says, though he suggested the process could be digitized in the future.

There were more than 224 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria as of December, 2023, according to the NCC. MTN has the most, at 87 million. The company said that the accounts disconnected are lower value and would not materially impact its revenue, according to Leadership. Telecoms have until the end of the week to submit the number of blocked subscribers to the NCC.

The SIM registration project is intended to curb incidents of kidnapping and extortion in the country, but the collected links have reportedly been underutilized by law enforcement so far.

Muoka said that the NCC is providing security agencies with the necessary information to identify criminals using mobile phones to place ransom calls.

Pakistan raids and India award

Authorities in Pakistan have raided mobile phone vendors in three cities, placing three arrests and recovering tools for biometric spoof attacks, Bol News reports.

The raids are part of a crackdown on illegal SIM sales by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). The raids themselves were conducted by a local PTA with support from the Federal Investigation Agency.

Authorities found 748 fake silicon fingerprints, eleven thousand digital fingerprints, thousands of pre-active SIMs and three BVS (Biometric Verification System) devices.

India’s Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) has won an “Innovation in AI” award for its ASTR (AI & Facial Recognition-powered Solution for Telecom SIM Subscriber Verification) system.

ASTR was used to identify and shut down more than 6 million SIM cards last year.

The award is one of three won by C-DOT at the 14th Annual Aegis Graham Bell Awards.

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