As retail sellers ignore security measures, threat to national security looms large

Greed and ignorance of retail sellers of mobile SIM cards pose a threat to national security now.

The city and district police units have come across retailers selling SIM cards of a mobile phone operator without verifying the identity of the buyers.

They do not bother to collect copies of photographs, proofs of identity and address, which are mandatory to hand over SIM cards.

Only last month, the city police arrested a man and his son, running a retail shop at Narimedu, for selling SIM cards, ignoring these security precautions.

The concern of the police that easily available SIM cards could be misused/abused by criminals proved right in the recent kidnap of a Rajasthani youth, Rahul Singh.

When the police tried to trace the culprits through the mobile phone numbers they used to demand a ransom of Rs.10 lakh, they failed.

For, a retailer in Munichalai had sold the two SIM cards without collecting the mandatory documents, Inspector of Police (Avaniyapuram) R.Uma Shankar said.

“The shopkeeper had ignored the security feature and given the SIM cards by collecting extra money,” he said.

Stating that mobile phone tracking had made it easier for the police to locate criminals, the Inspector wondered what would happen if retailers allowed anyone to get SIM cards without checking his documents.

The police said in the case of the retail seller of Narimedu, the SIM cards were sold to unknown persons by misusing documents submitted by buyers of SIM cards.

“They had also sold activated SIM cards. This means the subscribers need not wait for a couple of hours to get their SIM cards activated,” the police said.

The police added that any person could use the SIM cards to make obscene calls, threatening calls or nuisance calls.

However, it could become more dangerous when those cards land in the hands of anti-social elements or hard-core criminals.

“Anti-social elements could smuggle these SIM cards into prisons for use by convicts. Even if the authorities manage to intercept the calls, they will not be able to trace the culprits,” a city police officer said.

Another officer said the SIM cards could also be used as a remote-controlled device to explode bombs.

Will the authorities ensure a fool-proof system to monitor issue of SIM cards?

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