ISLAMABAD: Government has announced a Mobile Subscriber Documentation and Antecedent Verification Policy to help check crime and facilitate the genuine cellular phone subscribers. It will take immediate effect. Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Dr. Abdullah Riar has directed PTA to facilitate availability of reliable data through mobile subscriber documentation and antecedent verification.
The minister illustrated the need for the policy directives in an interactive session with the media in a press conference. Dr. Abdullah Riar said that due to the existence of a substantial number of undocumented mobile phone users in the country and to allay the concerns of various agencies in this regard, Ministry of Information Technology had issued policy to the PTA establishing framework for mobile subscriber antecedent data collection and verification by all mobile phone operators.
He said that the Ministry of IT as the policy maker had held extensive collaboration with the PTA and the industry to address the issue through comprehensive measures for correcting the anomaly in current subscriber data and at the same time setting robust mechanism for collection of such data for new subscribers. This policy aimed to adequately balance the interests of all stakeholders including the industry, regulator and law enforcement agencies, the minister added.
The minister said that the Ministry of Information Technology had, as a result, rolled out renewed policy directives with the key objective to achieve optimal balance between security and consumer convenience. This policy, he said would address issues arising out of undocumented Subscriber Identity Modules and at the same time ensure continued growth of telecommunications sector. These directives would build on and improve the standard operating procedures currently being followed for the purpose, he added.
Dr. Riar appreciated the cooperation of PTA, the cellular industry and all stakeholders in formulation of the policy. The minister while presenting salient features of the policy highlighted that validation and verification of data received by operators from retail agents was critical. In this regard, received antecedent data would be duly validated and verified by the Cellular Mobile Telecom Operators (CMTOs) by cross-referencing against NADRA CNIC database.
Cross-referencing might be done through submission of batch data to NADRA (as currently done) or through IT applications developed by CMTOs in collaboration with NADRA. PTA would devise necessary regulations and amended SoPs to be followed for the implementation of the policy including relevant penalty clauses in case of violations. PTA would also continue to monitor the collection of antecedent data by franchisees and retail agents of the franchisees of the CMTOs through spot and random checks. The minister was accompanied by officials of the ministry including Secretary IT&T Hifz-ur-Rehman and Member Telecom Noor-ud-Din Baqai.-SANA