UAE Mobile Users Required to Register Biometrics

Mobile users in the United Arab Emirates are now required to provide their fingerprint biometrics with Etisalat, the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation.

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Notices have been sent out to mobile users asking them to report to Etisalat offices to provide the scans for re-registration of their mobile accounts after renewing their Emirates IDs or residence visas. The fingerprint data is matched to these government identity documents, a product of a Telecommunications Regulatory Authority campaign entitled “My Number, My Identity”.

The campaign is ostensibly aimed at reducing fraud and protecting users’ privacy, but it likely has a broader security element as well. A similar, and indeed pioneering, program in Pakistan was launched directly as a response to a terrorist incident, with the aim of preventing terrorists and criminals from using mobile devices under assumed identities; and other countries have followed suit in the same vein.

Moreover, biometric security appears to be increasingly popular in the oil-rich UAE, whose government has over the past year announced plans for biometric security at airports and even police cars outfitted with biometric identification scanners.

Sources: Gulf Digital News, Emirates 24|7 News

March 16, 2016 – by Alex Perala