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In the Russian Federation, the FSB wants to force mobile operators to take fingerprints from customers when selling a SIM card

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May16,2024

In the Russian Federation, the FSB wants to force mobile operators to take fingerprints from customers when selling a SIM card

Sources of the Russian publication “Kommersant” reported that the FSB and the Ministry of Statistics are discussing three options for new requirements for purchases.

The first — customer identification using biometrics (fingerprints). The second — sale only in operators' communication salons and post offices, and the third — making a purchase using a digital signature, where the contract is signed in electronic form.

As “Kreschatic” reports, a source close to the communication operators called the strictness of the sale of SIM cards to citizens of the Russian Federation a logical measure. After changing the requirements for the sale of Russian SIM cards to citizens of other countries, he believes, "gray connections can flow into other, less regulated segments of the market".

Now, the publication reminds, SIM cards can buy in salons of operators, on their websites and from dealers — intermediaries who conclude sales contracts. Dealer networks provide, according to various data, from 35 to 70% of sales, depending on the operator.

Market participants told Kommersant that tightening the rules for selling SIM cards to Russians could lead to a reduction in the dealer network. Also, the new rules, if they are introduced, could reduce the total number of connections and also lead to an increase in the costs of operators if they need equipment to collect biometrics.

The largest Russian mobile operators confirmed that the discussion of strengthening sales rules sim card is coming. At the same time, some of them noted that biometrics as the only way to confirm the identity – “not an optimal mechanism”, different methods should be available to subscribers.

The Russian authorities have taken a number of measures in recent years to reduce the number of “gray” SIM cards, that is, those that companies buy for their employees, or that are sold without a contract. In both cases, such SIM cards are actually anonymous, there is no reliable data about the subscribers who use them. It is believed that such SIM cards are often used for illegal activities, including phone fraud.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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