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FIA sells passengers’ data in black market for mobile registration

Apart from the travel agents, the agency’s cybercrime director informed a parliamentary committee on July 10 that the FIA employees performing duties at the airport were involved in stealing travelers’ data and selling it for mobile registration in the black market.

FIA

News Desk |

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) airport employees have been found involved in stealing passengers’ travel data and selling it in the black market to register new mobile phones.

Apart from the travel agents, the agency’s cybercrime director informed a parliamentary committee on July 10 that the FIA employees performing duties at the airport were involved in stealing travelers’ data and selling it for mobile registration in the black market.

“While travel agents were stealing the documents of passengers returning from Umrah, three FIA officials at the airport have also come under scrutiny for selling passenger details on the black market,” Afzal Butt told the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication.

This is the only country in the world where everything is becoming harder for citizens every day and the noose around their necks is ever tightening.

Dawn reported that Butt told the committee that one of the officials was behind bars, the second has got bail while the third was on pre-arrest bail.

The committee had met for a briefing by the FIA and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on the illegal registration of mobile devices and the misuse of travelers’ data meant for the registration of mobile phones under the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS).

PTA Shared 45,000 Cases of Passengers’ Identity Theft with FIA

During the committee meeting, it emerged that the stolen information and travel documents, such as passport and identity card numbers, that are needed to register mobile phones were being used in the open market to unblock non-customs paid mobile phones for Rs2,000 to Rs3,000.

Read more: PTA set to block all unregistered mobile phones by October 20th

Interestingly, the PTA has shared more than 45,000 cases of passengers’ identity theft with the FIA for legal action.

Senators Condemn Device Identification Registration and Blocking System

The committee members while discussing the issue also discussed DIRBS, saying it was causing inconvenience for Pakistanis bringing mobile phones back to their country rather than a facility.

“The phone blocking system is draconian and ridiculous. This is the only country in the world where everything is becoming harder for citizens every day and the noose around their necks is ever tightening. The system has failed to curb the smuggling of mobile handsets, the very purpose for which it was developed,” Dawn quoted committee chair Senator Rubina Khalid as saying.

Read more: A passenger claiming to be FIA officer harasses bus hostess

To this, Senator Rehman Malik reminded her that she has the power to suspend the system, adding that “this is a flawed system and should be removed completely.”

In response, PTA Chairman Amir Azeem Bajwa defended the DIRBS, saying that the legal commercial import of mobile phones has more than doubled since it was enforced.

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