NEW DELHI: Mobile subscribers will soon be allotted a unique customer ID by the government, which will act as their one-stop identification point for everything related to their primary as well as add-on phone connections. The move, being finalised by the department of telecommunications is to protect users from cyberfrauds as well as for providing government sponsored economic benefits to targeted customers.
The concept is very similar to the 14-digit Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Account (ABHA) health ID linked to Aadhaar Card, that facilitates easy access to medical records, and also helps medical professionals like doctors and insurers to get medical information instantly.
The mobile customer ID can also be used to seamlessly track SIM cards on a single ID, locations from where users bought SIM cards, as well as for smooth identification of users owning the SIM cards, among other things.
The move will also check issuance of SIM cards to a single customer beyond the permissible limit of nine. Currently, information about connections beyond permissible limits is being assessed only when the telecom department at various licensed service areas (LSAs) conduct audits using artificial intelligence (AI)-based facial recognition technology.
Further, in order to address the issue of identification of users actually using the SIM card, the government is also expected to ask subscribers to declare at the time of taking SIM card, as to who will actually use the connection in the family. The same is being thought over as a way to largely help telcos comply with the verifiable parental consent clause in case of children data as per the data protection law, officials said.
According to government officials, DoT is looking at ways to prevent fraudulent connections from being issued and one such way is to track it through a unique consumer ID, which will be issued at the time a consumer applies for a connection.
Lately, telcos have also flagged issues with regard to seeking verifiable parental consent for processing children data in compliance with the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act. The challenge for them is to identify if the end consumer on the network is a minor or not, and also creating a framework based on which they will be able to seek verifiable consent from the parents, officials said.
Further, the plan is to group those consumer IDs based on demographics including age, gender, marital status, income, education, and employment. The usage patterns of the SIM cards pertaining to respective consumer IDs are also expected to be analysed based on which the government can issue orders to block the ID and respective SIM cards in one go, if anything is found suspicious.
The government recently introduced new rules that will require telcos to register SIM card sellers and conduct their proper KYC before onboarding them into the system, as well as stop the sales of bulk SIM cards. The rules will kick in from December 1.
In the last six months, DoT disconnected over 6.4 million fraudulent phone connections, detected with the help of facial recognition.
Source: The Financial Express