Less than 0.5 percent of the SIM cards that were biometrically verified have incorrect data on them, State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim said yesterday.
“If the subscribers had been conscious when providing finger prints, the errors wouldn't have happened,” she said at a media briefing in Dhaka.
In total, 11.4 crore SIM cards have been verified through biometric registration and less than 0.5 percent or 5.7 lakh of those have loopholes.
The authorities are now working to iron out the glitches, the minister said.
Following biometric SIM verification, calls via illegal voice over internet protocol or VoIP have come down to below 10 percent from 35 percent, she said, adding that the trend of committing crimes using SIM cards has declined sharply as well.
“We do not have the real figures but the police and intelligence agencies have assured us that mobile-related crimes apart from spoofing have declined about 99 percent as all the SIMs are now registered with biometrics.”
Biometric SIM verification has no correlation with spoofing, a computer-based technology that is now being used for mobile phone-based crimes, Tarana said.
If anybody receives a spoofing call, he/she should call back the number to know whether the number is registered biometrically.
“After calling back, if the person receives the call, he/she must be owner of a biometrically verified SIM, which would make it clear that a third party has perpetrated it by using computer apps for toll or any other purpose.”
The state minister also demonstrated how a spoofing call is generated for crimes.
Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, said they are working on a priority basis to address the issue.
“But the problem is that when we shut a technology, another technology emerges,” he added. BTRC Director General Emdad Ul Bari said they have found incidents of fingerprints being up for sale in exchange of money.
“Besides, over 3.5 lakh people have completed SIM verification using birth certificate or other documents temporarily. But for full registration, national ID or passport is needed,” he added. Telecom Secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury and officials from law-enforcement and intelligence agencies attended the press conference.