Pakistan Requiring Fingerprints for Cell Service

Business / Mobile

In light of the various different bombings using cell phones in Pakistan recently, the government has decided to crack down on who can get a SIM card. The first step they’re taking to monitor everyone is by requiring that everyone in the country must register their fingerprint to their specific SIM.

Pakistani residents have until April 15th to go to a retailer to link their fingerprint to their SIM card to be able to continue using their phone.  If they don’t meet the deadline they will no longer have any service through their provider as it will be canceled on that date. With over 136 million active SIM cards in the country, this will prove to be quite a feat and officials say that they still have 50 million remaining to verify – so they aren’t doing too bad of a job yet.

This is in effort to be able to prevent cell phones to be used to remotely trigger bombs in attacks that continue to happen throughout their country.  They currently have no way to be able to trace back who is using that SIM card since, until now, they haven’t had an established registration process.  This new process will match the fingerprint from the cellphone owner to a national database that Pakistan started creating back in 2005.  If you are not currently in that database it will be a requirement now to have a cell phone.  Refugees from Afghanistan are still not able to be citizens but will be required to go to court and obtain an affidavit stating they will properly use any cellphones they may get while in the country.

The hope is that this step might be able to tone back some of the attacks going on within Pakistan, but nothing is stopping those responsible for the attacks to get a SIM card from out of country to use in Pakistan on a roaming plan.  They might still be able to go across the border to Afghanistan to get their service and then come back to continue to do the same things they currently are.  At least this is one step in the right direction to try to prevent these kinds of attacks from happening or at least being able to trace back to where they might be coming from.

Some of the difficulties trying to get the entire country to register their fingerprints in this short of a time is that there are still a lot of rural areas where retailers might not be established to get the local population registered.  Mobilink, one of the countries carriers, is trying to help those in the outlying areas register by sending out 700 mobile vans to be able to try to reach everyone as quickly as possibly.

Do you think that this type of registration might be a good deterrent for people to use their phones to remotely detonate explosives to attack innocent people or is the Pakistani government doing too much by requiring residents to link their fingerprints to their cell phones?  Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

  Source: Washington Post

Featured image courtesy Wikipedia (CC-BY-3.0)

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