UID to be used for mobile user verification

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NEW DELHI: The Unique Identification (UID) number project, which is poised to use the 700 million-plus mobile subscriber database and distribution network, will in turn become the basis of issuing mobile connections in the future. The UID number will be the definitive proof for subscriber verification.

Security agencies often fret about lack of proper subscriber identification norms and paperwork before issuance of mobile numbers and SIM cards, especially among the fast growing prepaid segment.

This is because subscribers across states and socio-economic categories do not have proper paperwork which either forces mobile companies to make exceptions or prevents potential and needy subscribers from getting onto India’s mobile network. Agencies have tried everything from tightening norms to penalties and failed.

Sixteen years after mobile operations were first launched in the country, the government and industry are yet to find a permanent foolproof response to this issue.

When ready, UID may just be the answer. DoT secretary R Chandrashekhar told TOI, “Serious consideration is being given to make UID the fundamental basis of subscriber verification. This will mean that the present arrangement will continue for a period of time but once UID is up and running the transition could occur very quickly and nationwide.”

UID is also far more secure than any of the other verification documents, except perhaps for the passport, which is available with only a very small fraction of the Indian population.

In a terror-prone country like India it has been proved time and again that mobile phones are the favourite communication device for terrorists and anti-social elements. They are easy to get and easier to dispose of, especially under the pre-paid scheme.

The watered down subscriber verification norm often allows them to forge documents and other data, which could become considerably difficult, if not virtually impossible, with the coming of the UID number.

This will be especially helpful to genuine consumers in border states and Jammu & Kashmir, where the government has had to intervene on account of security requirements time and again, making it burdensome for the common man to access mobile service.

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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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