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Study to link SIM cards with fingerprints

Linking a SIM card’s number with a customer’s fingerprints could be the latest attempt at eliminating anonymous usage of SIM cards. Saudi Call Company and a French company intend to file an integrated study into this possible solution with the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC). The procedure would replace the current one that demands registering the ID number or the iqama (residence permit) number for expats.
The study includes other possibilities, such as linking all parties concerned with the computers of communication providers, CITC, labor and passport offices.
“Event though linking the SIM card number with that of the national ID or iqama greatly contributed to regulating the market, and eliminated the bulk of the black market for SIM cards, some dealers can still bypass these procedures,” said Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, chairman of Saudi Call Company.
To bypass current regulations the names of expats or visitors who left the country were exploited. Their iqama or ID numbers stayed linked with the SIM cards.
Arab News field reports made clear at the time when the regulations were implemented that a black market had emerged where SIM card numbers were sold with the ID or iqama numbers.
Sultan Al-Malik, spokesman of CITC, said that the market of prepaid SIM cards rebounded last week despite the fines and penalties of up to SR 25 million that might hit illegal marketers of the commodity. “These fines could double in case the violation is repeated,” said Al-Malik.
Any person who buys a SIM card knowing that it is registered in the name of someone else will be regarded as a character impersonator and will be subjected to sanctions and penalties.
“The violating shops will be referred to municipalities, while individuals, if expats, Labor and Passports offices are bodies of jurisdiction in these cases,” concluded Al-Malik.

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