A FEW days ago, I received a call from the representative of a private cellular company who asked me to pay the bills of two postpaid numbers of which I had no knowledge. But they had been issued against my CNIC.

I visited the customer care centre of the said company to further inquire about the matter. I was told that a total of three numbers — two postpaid and one prepaid — had been issued against my CNIC.

I am a resident of Sahiwal and, according to the information provided by the customer care representative, the SIM cards were issued in Nowshera and Mamu Kanjan. It is surprising that someone used my personal information to issue three SIM cards, using my CNIC without my knowledge or consent.

As we all know, SIM cards cannot be issued without biometric verification, it is more alarming that my biometric data must have been used to issue these SIM cards.

This serious breach of privacy and personal data raises a number of questions about our data security and the institutions that are responsible for protecting the citizens against data-related crimes. Moreover, the people involved in such heinous crimes are making a mockery of whatever we have in the name of protection mechanism.

Considering the grave nature of the crime, I registered an online complaint with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and with the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). While I am waiting for their response, the authorities sshould take immediate notice of such activities and direct the agencies concerned to take action against those involved in such activities.

Muhammad Usama

Sahiwal

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2021

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