Blaming Telecom Companies for Terrorism is Madness!

Telecom industry of Pakistan is abuzz these days with re-verification of entire prepaid and postpaid subscribers with biometric verification of customers.

Telecom companies were again grilled by Interior Ministry as Peshawar Attack terrorists were found to have communicated through mobile phones and this is probably where government and security agencies found a way to distract the public from the real issue, i.e. a security lapse on LEAs’ part and instead started blaming cellular companies as the sole reason behind the attack.

Clearly they are not.

If telecom companies are the culprits, then so is SUZUKI as its van was used for terrorists’ transportation

Telecom companies are not culprits, especially when the SIMs used by terrorists were issued only after biometric verification. Not to mention, telecom companies handed over the record of purchaser and other details to law enforcement agencies within no time for further investigation.

If telecom companies are the culprits, then so is SUZUKI as its van was used for transportation. Now even a fifth grader will understand that blaming SUZUKI for the attack would be BS.

Here is the point: If terrorists want to communicate during an attack, they will communicate anyway. They can use Skype, Viber, satellite phone or any of the countless other wireless communication ways that are available.

Blaming telecom companies and terming them as sole responsible for attack is simply insane and will not help out our country in eliminating terrorism.

There is in fact this GSMA research available (PDF File — 5.14 MB), that suggests exactly I said above.

Terrorists who are determined to remain anonymous will use other means to obtain active SIM cards or simply buy them from abroad and roam on their own countries’ networks

GSMA, which studied as many as 15 markets, found out that mandatory SIM registration doesn’t help in reduction of terrorism and crimes. Research found that criminals and terrorists who are determined to remain anonymous will use other means to obtain active SIM cards or simply buy them from abroad and roam on their own countries’ networks.

Having said this all, registration and re-verification of all 140 million mobile phone users can be of good use. Not for the elimination of terrorism, but for state records and other hiccups, such as for identifying wrong calls, invading someone’s privacy and other small matters. But not for terrorism.

I also admit that telecom companies had their share of wrong-doings in selling unregistered SIMs, and they should be responsible for the correction in these records. But blaming them for a reason behind a terrorist attack is simply madness.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority should play its role that is conferred to it by the Telecom Act, i.e. offering a level playing field for telecom companies. If not done rightly, we will only lose more.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK