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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pakistan government moves to verify prepaid phone users

The Associated Press of Pakistan reported that Rehman Malik, Pakistan's Interior Minister, ordered on April 19, 2011, that prepaid phone providers verify the identities of all prepaid mobile phone users in Pakistan within 30 days.

In a meeting at Pakistan's Ministry of Interior, Malik said telecommunication companies had not taken steps to verify user identities via subscriber identification module (SIM) cards, which are portable cell phone memory chips where user information is stored.

The way the Pakistan government seeks to verify users is by having telecoms, working with Pakistan's National Database and Registration Authority, match SIM cards with international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) numbers that are printed on cell phones. IMEI numbers can be used to validate or disable devices; if a user loses his or her phone, that user can have the phone "blacklisted" by giving the IMEI number to the telecom company, which would then block that phone from accessing the wireless network.

The goal of the initiative is to curtail the influx and use of illegal cell phones in Pakistan, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan. Criminals and terrorists employ prepaid phones because they are untraceable. Similar measures to register SIM cards are underway in countries across the continent of Africa. end of article

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