Barack Obama’s picture used to get a mobile connection in India

By  May 02, 2012 11:13AM UTC

How well are the telecom companies knowing their customers? A little too well really. A twenty one year old in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh has used the picture of Barack Obama to get an Airtel connection.

There could be two things that might have happened. The man didn’t have his passport size photo on-hand and used Mr. Obama’s picture or the people who were collecting the documents have never seen Obama’s picture. Either way it’s one funny Know your customer (KYC) story to tell.

KYC is a rigor which the Indian government is trying to establish with the diligence required to open a bank account or secure a mobile connection. Take a look at the picture below from Times Of India :

To prevent such ‘ludicrous’ irregularities, Andhra police have made some suggestions. One such suggestion is this :

The AP police have also recommended introduction of biometric system to capture the identity of the customer. It has also been suggested that the customer who wants to become a subscriber of a network provider should be physically present before the fixed centre. (TOI)

We got that covered too. The biometric system we all so wanted which already has collected biometrics for 200 million people has just issued a Aadhar card for a vegetableAn equally amusing story where a person has used a series of vegetables and greens to secure an Aadhar card (India’s most ambitious project).

In most parts of India, on your way out, the chances of you getting a new mobile phone connection are much higher than you finding a packet of milk. Telcos are under tremendous pressure to rack up numbers of subscribers. Hyper-competition might be the immediate reason which should get a lot of attention but rather it’s the pre-paid nature of the business.

Close to 90% of all the mobile subscriptions in India are pre-paid. Which means telcos don’t really wait for the customers to pay the bills. The bills are already paid. This takes out the incentive to really know the customer. You pay, you talk. You don’t pay, then you don’t talk. All the telco loses is a lousy chip called a SIM card.

Coming back to the Obama picture, the stand-up comedians and late night shows will have a field day. Republicans can’t really use this though.

WTF News – mobile-phone users in North Korea to be branded ” War Criminals” and invite Death Penalty

Pyongyang, Jan 30 (TruthDive):  North Korean citizens caught using mobile phones or attempting to flee to china during the 100-day mourning period for the late president Kim Jong-Il will be branded as war criminals. They might be punished with life sentence and the repeated offenders might get capital punishment.
 , country’s Worker’s Party issued the warning in an effort to deter citizens from crossing the border and settling in China and South Korea. The reports say that around 23,000 defectors have already settled in South Korea.   The reports also said that food supplies are again dwindling and that there has been an increase in the number of people trying to cross over into China. The country thinks these defectors might turn into a major threat to the current Kim Jong-un regime and country’s stability.
Kim Jong-Il, 69, died on December 17 from a heart attack. His son, Kim Jong-un, took over from him as North Korea’s president.
In November, Reuters reported that 1 million people in North Korea would have cell phones by the end of 2011 and this is “barely four years after people were thrown into prison camps, or possibly even executed, for owning one,” the news source wrote. But, still, 1 million people is just 5 percent of the country’s total population.
It’s unclear how Jong-un will regulate cell phone use once the 100-day mourning period for his father ends.
 North Korea has been identified as the fifth-biggest threat to international stability in the world in 2012 by Eurasia Group, a US-based research and consulting firm. The research said a “lack of information about events” in North Korea and its new leader is a risk that is being “severely underplayed.”
In 2010, there were over 300,000 cell phone users in North Korea, all on a network developed by Egyptian telecommunications firm Orascom. Reuters reported last November that the number has since grown to nearly a million people on the 3G capable network. However the new law is unlikely to affect all as only less than 5% of the poverty-stricken population owns a mobile phone anyway.
Also it is to be noted that this isn’t the first time North Korea has banned cell phone use; in 2008, the government reportedly confiscated mobile phones for the same reason.


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