Bangladesh High Court Clears Path for Biometric SIM Registration Project

Bangladesh’s High Court has cleared the way for the country’s biometric SIM card registration project to go ahead as planned.

Authorities worked with MNOs to start registering users’ biometrics last autumn, with the measure being considered a crime-fighting effort, since it would help to stop criminals from using mobile devices under assumed names; in this way it echoed a similar effort in Pakistan. Earlier this year, State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim scolded MNOs over reports that they were not fully cooperating in the effort, asserting that it’s a “high priority” project and that the government seeks to register all of the country’s SIM users.

Now, a different hurdle has been overcome, with Bangladesh’s High Court rejecting a move to challenge the legality of the project. However, in so doing, the High Court also insisted that governmental authorities overseeing the effort take the utmost care to protecting users’ biometric data.

It isn’t clear if that will affect the project’s current timeline, which aims for all current SIM card owners to be registered by the end of this month.

Sources: The Daily Star, bdnews24.com

April 12, 2016 – by Alex Perala