“Asinine” request by mobile networks send subscribers into frenzy

April 11, 2018 | 15:50
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The three telecom groups’ request of mobile subscribers’ photosis causing a controversy over the security of people’s personal information.
asinine request by mobile networks send subscribers into frenzy
People provide information at a MobiFone's outlet

Aiming to strictly control the country’s subscribers and prevent “trash” SIMs, Viettel, MobiFone, and Vinaphone have requested all Vietnamese subscribers to submit their portraits before April 24. If any subscribers do not submit portraits, they will be dealt under the Decision No.49/2017/ND-CP.

However, this requirement roused concerns as people registered their phone numbers by their identification cards, which would make submitting a photo unnecessary.

Tamas Bay Nguyen, a foreigner living in Vietnam and using the MobiFone mobile network, told VIR that submitting a portrait should not be necessary because he has already submitted his passport (which already has a clear photo for identification) to register in the first place.

According to the latest report of the Telecommunications Department, as of this year's March 15, only four million out of the 38 million mobile subscribers updated their full information on mobile operators' databases.

Furthermore, people are worried that their personal information (including their photos) may be misused by the three telecom groups.

“xuanx667” commented on Vnexpress: “With the current leaking of personal information, I am not at all sure that my information would be secure if I submitted my photo to the mobile network operators.”

“More importantly, what do the mobile network operators do to protect our information? Why do they require us to submit our photos without making any explicit commitment to protect our personal information?” “vythugian” commented on Vnexpress.

“Why don’t mobile networks learn from the information leak at Facebook? Who will take responsibility if our information stored at mobile networks is hacked into?”asked “khuong bui tien” on Vnexpress.

Responding to these queries, representatives of Viettel, MobiFone, and Vinaphone affirmed that subscribers’ personal information would never be leaked because their information would be secure in accordance with the Law on Telecommunications and current regulations. However, these statement went only a little way to satisfy the general mass.

At the April 10 meeting, Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan said that countries like the US, Germany, Japan, and Singapore have databases of personal information, so subscribers only need to show their ID to confirm their identity. However, Vietnam has no such database, so identification is a longer process which requires new photos.

Tuan also suggested allowing people to submit the photos on their IDs instead of completely new pictures.

In contrast, Le Thi Ngoc Mo, deputy director of the Telecommunications Department, said that submitting new portraits is necessary because ID photos are usually outdated.

“The expiration date of ID cards is 15 years. During this time, people’s faces change significantly, which means we need new photos to determine their identities,” Mo added.

By Van Anh

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