A panel of experts in India is developing proposals on how telecommunications firms can confirm the identity of customers before issuing SIM cards to them – in an effort to reduce the risk of terrorism.
The panel will include representatives from India’s Department of Telecommunications and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. A report – listing the recommendations – will be presented to the Indian government within three months.
The nation’s Supreme Court set up the panel after receiving a plea by a petitioner, according to a report from the Bangalore Wishesh. The plea came from Avishek Goenka who wanted direction from the government when developing guidelines for telecommunication companies, The Hindu reported.
The guidelines were needed considering that – in recent terrorist attacks – connections for mobile phones were given through falsified documents, according to the report from The Hindu. That happened in the recent attacks in Mumbai and Delhi.
In a related matter, in February India’s anti-terrorism squad (ATS) unraveled an organization providing fraudulent SIM cards. Three suspects were arrested. It marked the fifth SIM card racket detected in Mumbai during just four months, according to The Times of India. In the latest arrest, the three were found to be selling SIM cards without verification, The Times reported.
Last July, terrorists employed fake SIM cards in the deadly Mumbai attacks. IBN reports that Ahmed Zarar Siddibuppa, who allegedly planned the July 2011 Mumbai attacks, collaborated with the planters of bombs at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House by employing a fake number obtained through forged documents.
IBN explains that a fake SIM card can be registered by presenting someone’s original documents without their knowledge. Photocopies of original documents are often sold in schemes to register fake SIM cards, the news report said.
To get an idea of how widespread the problem is, police in India looked at 26,450 SIM cards during 2010, and close to 9,000 of them were found to be fakes, IBN said.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin