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Cyber Expert Calls Out SIM Re-registration Data Grabbing



Cyber Expert Calls Out SIM Re-registration Data Grabbing

The technical and legal cybersecurity consultant, Dr. Avinash Ramtohul, is questioning the re-registration of SIM cards.

He believes that this is a way to collect personal data just before the general elections. He is also concerned about the software being used.

Cyber Expert Calls Out SIM Re-registration Data Grabbing

Dr. Avinash Ramtohul, a technical and legal cybersecurity consultant, is challenging the re-registration of SIM cards as well as its timing, he explained further:

“The Lam Shan Leen report never prescribed the re-registration of SIM cards for the entire nation.

There were many other options available, including targeted re-registration of people on a watchlist, potential suspects, and those who have more than a certain number of SIM cards in their name.

Additionally, drug traffickers can also use WhatsApp where SIM cards are not required, or an e-SIM registered under a third party’s name.

Therefore, the whole process seems to be a façade to compel the collection of personal data, including photos of citizens.

There could potentially be a violation of Section 28 of the Data Protection Act 2017,”

The consultant believes that the contracts binding subscribers to operators do not allow them to share their customers’ data with regulators.

Dr. Avinash Ramtohul is concerned about the possible use of biometric data, particularly the photos of subscribers.

“We are seriously concerned about how generative artificial intelligence (AI) can use our data to create fake media (deepfakes) to cause harm online. […]

Technically, photos can be used for facial recognition with the Safe City surveillance system which is exempt from data protection laws.

Thus, people’s movements can be tracked in real-time. The timing seems suspicious as we are in an election year. For four years, such a project has not been implemented.

The re-registration of SIM cards has suddenly become extremely important with threats of deactivation if they are not re-registered by April 30, 2024,” the expert said. Dr. Avinash Ramtohul is calling on the authorities to provide clarification on the SIM card re-registration process.

He points out that the process requires the use of software at the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA).

This software is an middleware, which acts as an intermediary. “Like any other software, it runs processes.

However, no one knows what these processes are doing. The public has not been informed about this because the middleware functions as a black box.

Generally, software developers are not bound by an oath, like doctors and engineers, or a code of ethics.

Therefore, the black box can copy and store data passing through the ICTA,” warned Dr. Avinash Ramtohul in a statement to the Defi Media Group.

The consultant therefore advocates for the software’s operations to be made public and audited by “a credible, independent, and international software audit company.”

He also wishes for the source code of the middleware to be verifiable at any time by authorized entities.

When contacted by the Defi Media Group for a response, the ICTA management simply stated:

“We do not agree with what has been said.”

The regulator clarified that to date, nearly 1.2 million SIM cards have been re-registered. This number also includes new SIM cards registered for the first time.

Source: Defi Media

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