SHC orders SIMs verification through biometric system
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed cellular companies to ensure that all the franchise holders are mandatorily required to obtain the biometric system and fingerprint devices to be connected with Nadra.
Hearing petitions regarding the missing persons, the SHC’s division bench, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, also directed that with effect from July 1, 2013 no fresh cellular connection or SIM or reactivation shall be issued without biometric thumb printing verification from Nadra.
“In order to ensure safety of life and property of the citizens of Pakistan, the cellular companies should ensure that with effect from July 1, 2013 no SIMs shall be issued across the counter directly or through its franchise or licence holders, and SIMs should be issued after verification from Nadra by taking thumb impression verification,” the court ordered.
The PTA counsel submitted that large number of unregistered SIMs have been blocked while new SOP and directives have been issued with regard to registration of SIMs. He said the prime minister had already issued directives that by February, 2013, all SIMs are to be linked up with the biometric system. The court observed the biometric system and finger printing verification are accessible devices.
Citizens-Police Liaison Committee’s counsel pointed out that since the ATM, credit cards and other similar services are provided at the postal address of the beneficiary, the SIMs can also be provided through the courier service and not across the counter.
The court directed the PTA to examine retention of data beyond 365 days keeping in view the increase of crimes by using cellular technology and also examine issuing necessary directive to the cellular companies for the retention of data by enhancing its capacity.
The court directed that all cellular companies should be equipped with GPS facility to facilitate the law enforcement agencies in tracking down the culprits, cellular bomb or explosive device. The court asked the PTA to initiate the process while taking the Ministry of Interior and Defence into confidence.
On CDR data issue, the counsel of cellular companies submitted that one window operation should be made operational as different law enforcement agencies require CDR and other mobile phone data.
Additional Chief Secretary Muhammad Waseem submitted that since ISI operates in a very limited fashion in selected cases while police require information on regular basis therefore focal person of police be appointed to collect the information. The court directed the IG Sindh and additional chief secretary to make effective mechanism by appointing focal person to call required cell phone data.
The court directed IG Sindh to appoint qualified and experienced investigators at central places to assist the entire police force under one roof and such organisational mechanism setup may be established with capacity of GSM locater.
The additional chief secretary assured the court that funding and resources to build capacity of focal persons and investigation centres will be made by the government for which he shall place a proposal. The court adjourned the hearing till July 17.
Source: The News