SIMs to be issued through new system in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has started issuing SIMs through an enhanced version of the Biometric Verification System (BVS) called Multi Finger Biometric Verification System (MBVS), ARY News reported.

According to details, a ceremony was held at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Headquarters to sign the contract between NADRA and cellular mobile operators (CMOs) after a seamless conversion to the updated version of the biometric system.

The BVS devices that are currently available in the market have been modified to comply with the new system’s standards through NADRA and CMOs. While issuing new or duplicate SIM cards, the new system demands impressions of multiple fingers for authentication and applicant antecedents.

Additionally , the control for the choice of fingers for verification purposes has been shifted from the seller representative to the system which asks for two different fingers’ impressions randomly. The implementation of the new system will make the illegal use of fake fingerprints impossible.

The signing ceremony was attended by PTA Chairman Maj. General Amir Azeem Bajwa (R), NADRA Chairman Muhammad Tariq Malik, PTA Member (Compliance & Enforcement) Dr. Khawar Siddique Khokhar, FIA Additional Director General, and representatives from CMOs.

PTA chairman while lauding the efforts of CMOs and NADRA in the upgradation of MBVS, said that the new system will be a catalyst in controlling the sales of SIMs issued illegally.

Speaking at the occasion, NADRA chairman said that MBVS has immense potential to keep fraudsters and scammers away. He said MBVS is a smart solution that uses an indigenous smart algorithm where the choice of the finger is proposed by the system rather than prefixed finger positions.

“The MBVS will not only eliminate silicon-based fingerprints used for issuance of mobile phone SIMs but also will hamper the attempts to purchase illegal SIMs. The new system will combat fake SIM issuance, ID fraud, protect privacy and strengthen the national security of Pakistan”, he added.

MBVS has been made possible due to the continued efforts of the teams from PTA, NADRA, and CMOs. It is pertinent to mention that BVS was implemented in 2014 in order to offer secure online biometric verification for each SIM-related transaction as well as assigning a unique sale ID and logging each transaction so that the person responsible for misuse is identifiable.

However, to further enhance the system and counter problems regarding SIMs issued using illegal means, MBVS has been introduced. The new verification system will be helpful in eliminating the use of SIMs attained through illegal ways in fraudulent financial transactions and other criminal activities.


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