The revision aims to make it simpler for mobile providers to supply prepaid mobile services for people in emergency situations where they can’t return home due to natural disasters or family violence, as well as increasing the range of credit cards that can be used for identity verification.
Telecommunications service provider identity checking rules were first introduced in 1997 to allow law enforcement and national security agencies to obtain information about the identity of customers for their investigations.
Announcing its revised determination on the rules on Wednesday, the ACMA said accurate information from customers of prepaid services could also assist timely responses by emergency service organisations—police, fire and ambulance services—to Triple Zero emergency calls from prepaid services.
The revised rules protect the privacy of individuals by requiring that mobile providers only obtain the minimum amount of information “reasonably necessary to verify identity”, and don’t increase the amount of information consumers are required to provide to their mobile providers.
Prepaid mobile phone services enable users to pay in advance for the cost of their mobile phone calls, and as credit is reduced, the user has the option of purchasing another prepaid service or recharging their existing prepaid service through the purchase of further credit.
Under a 2013 determination on identity checking by the ACMA, a mobile provider could use a credit card issued by an authorised deposit-taking institution as a means of verifying a customer’s identity information.
Now, credit cards made available to a person by a licensed credit provider can also be used.
When the ACMA announced a review of the rules late last year, it said proposed recommendations for revision included addressing some of the practical issues that have arisen during industry’s “widespread transition away from sighting identification at the time of sale to verifying identity at the time of activation, using other identity verification methods that deliver a higher level of confidence about a person’s identity”.