|Many "trash" SIM cards were used to send spam texts and fraud messages before being discarded with virtually no way to track the perpetrators.|Viet Nam News
A recent Government decision that requires mobile phone users to supply service providers with personal information has led to some grumbling over the hassle, but also given some people a nasty surprise as they learn that their ID cards were used to register several numbers with different service providers.
“I’m not ok with that at all. Not only it’s a serious breach of my privacy when my information was stolen and used without my consent, it’s also a security risk. What if someone used those numbers, which were under my name, to blackmail people or make death threats or to swindle? Would I be in trouble with the law, then?” said a very unhappy customer after he learned that his ID was used to register three different mobile phone numbers.
His worries are far from groundless. There are an absurd number of “trash” SIM cards in the country. An inspection carried out by service providers earlier this year revealed some 23 million, many of which were used to send spam texts and fraud messages before being discarded with virtually no way to track the perpetrators.
Further inspection of service providers’ customer database also led to less than reassuring revelations about how easy it is to activate a number. For instance, one single ID was found to have been used to activate more than 18,000 numbers. It is hard to believe that it was done without the provider’s knowledge for such an action would raise a red flag in any database management system.
Mobile phone users in Việt Nam will have some time to submit their personal information again if they wish to keep their numbers. Among the many rules, they will be asked to send in a portrait photo. Hopefully this will come as a silver lining amid the bureaucratic burden for the many selfie-lovers out there. Finally, an actual use for years of selfies. — VNS