China to speed up SIM registration in crackdown

7 Jan 2015

Xinhua news writes that the Chinese government is planning to intensify efforts to crack down on crimes committed using unregistered SIM cards. There are currently more than 130 million unregistered SIMs – so-called ‘black cards’ – in use in China, despite the introduction of regulations in September 2013 requiring all SIMs to be registered with proof of identity. Sector regulator the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) notes that the black cards can be used for a range of illegal activities, as they are far more difficult for authorities to track and trace: the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) added that there were 157,000 reported cases of phone scams involving the sale of personal information to third parties online in 2014 alone. As such, Chinese authorities will accelerate identity confirmation of SIMs throughout the year to reduce the number of black cards in circulation. China Mobile, the world’s largest cellular provider by subscribers, admitted that it was most to blame for the issue, estimating that around 16% of its more than 800 million users were not registered.