Afghanistan planning biometric SIM system
22 August 2016 14:40 GMT

Afghanistan’s telecommunications regulator wants to soon start linking biometrics to new SIM card registrations, to improve national security.

Sector watchdog the Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) has urged the nation’s mobile providers at a recent meeting that it wants to implement the system as soon as possible, reported telecompaper.

However, an analysis in telecoms trade magazine Telegeography writes that while the officials may be committed to put such a policy into place soon, that telcos are unlikely to be in a position to act on the proposals for some time, as the government’s efforts to introduce national electronic ID cards – complete with biometric data – have recently foundered.

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database neighbouring Pakistan completed a re-verification project last year, which required all mobile customers to confirm their identity with their mobile provider via biometric verification – in this case a thumbprint scan.

 Pakistan chose to reinforce its SIM registration procedures after an attack on a school in Peshawar in December 2014 revealed that phones used in the attack had used fraudulently verified SIMs.

Bangladesh has also implemented a biometric SIM registration scheme, and India last week revealed plans to use biometrics as part of a SIM eKYC procedure.

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