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India restricts SIM sales

Tourists get time limits, bulk sales barred, in crime crackdown

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India's telecoms regulator, the Department of Telecom (DoT), will try to put a crimp on mobile cybercrime by keeping a tight leash on visiting foreigners and their SIM cards.

The Department has issued a ruling that stops service providers from providing a mobile connection for more than three months to any foreign tourist visiting India.

Under the new rules the validity of any mobile connection is tied to the length of the foreign visa.

The tightening of restrictions comes as cybercrime statistics continue to rise, with many activities linked to misuse by foreigners.

Police report that in the city of Kerala, over 80,000 cybercrime-related complaints were received in the last year. Most of these complaints relate to crimes committed with hand-held devices. 50,000 of the victims were reportedly as women.

The new rules also ban individuals from having any bulk connections where more than 10 mobile phone connections are sold in any telecom circle.

Telecom operators have also been tasked with being watchdogs over SIM sellers or franchisees who sell SIMs without valid documentation. Should telecom operators fail to address these issues with errant franchisees legal action will be taken against the telecom operators themselves.

All foreign SIM seekers will now be required to supply proof of address in India, fill in a consumer application form (CAF) and supply their passport with visa information before being issued with a connection. ®

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