Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stolen ID’s used to provide cell numbers to antisocial elements

To curb the misuse of mobile telephone connection by terrorists and antisocial elements the Indian Government mandated that these connections be given only after validation of the buyer’s photo identity proof and address verification. For a large mobile population like India this turns out to be a large and costly exercise. There were some loopholes whereby a customer could use the phone for between 1 to 2 days without verifications. The news article “When KYC norms go for a toss with prepaid mobile connectionsbeautifully describes them.
There were two news items in the last month or so that caught my attention. The first is of sleuths descending on the house of a woman who had 117 cell phone connections but no phone. Someone had misused her identity to obtain a phone connection, and in a second case Hawkers were selling SIM cards at a premium without verification documents. They used 1000 copies of a single stolen or forged ID proof to purchase these cards which were later sold to antisocial elements.
Verification of your cell number has become a crucial factor in crime detection and surveillance of known criminals.  Unverified SIMS enables them to be anonymous. It is a petty crime as far as the hawker is concerned but enables a far more sinister outcome.
Such incidents simply reflect how the very people this process was meant for easily evade it, while over 600 million others need to comply.

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