Targets of the new measures will be folks who use “burner phones” whilst doing nefarious deeds, a scenario familiar to anyone who watches cop shows.
From the Yomiuri Shimbun:
The communications ministry has asked an industry organization to thoroughly verify the identities of budget smartphone users when they form a contract, it has been learned.
It is often possible to complete subscription procedures on the internet for budget smartphones, which offer lower communication charges than ordinary smartphones, and there is a rapidly growing number of cases in which smartphones are acquired with forged ID documents and then misused for crimes such as bank transfer scams.
To address this situation, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry will strengthen countermeasures such as implementing administrative measures against malicious smartphone providers that shirk efforts to prevent fraud, according to informed sources.
The ministry has reportedly sent a written request to the Telecom Services Association, which comprises about 50 companies selling budget smartphones, including Rakuten Inc. and Line Corp. It called on the association to enhance training for staff in charge of user subscriptions, make sure to report to the police and other relevant authorities when possible frauds are discovered, and share information about fraud methods, the sources said.
In many cases, budget smartphone subscribers verify their identities by entering their name, address and other information on a subscription website, taking a picture of their driver’s license or health insurance card with a mobile phone camera and sending the photo through the website.