The new Telecommunications Act, 2023, came into effect on June 26. This law introduces strict provisions to prevent the misuse of phone customers’ IDs and SIM cards, ensuring greater security and accountability in the telecommunications sector.


Key Provisions:

Penalties for Misusing SIM Cards:

The law stipulates that selling, purchasing, or using SIM cards through fraudulent means can result in a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to ₹50 lakh. This measure is designed to curb the illegal use of SIM cards and protect the integrity of personal identification.


Heavy Fines for Call Tapping:

Call tapping or recording without consent is now considered a criminal offense. Offenders could face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to ₹2 crore. This provision aims to safeguard the privacy of individuals and prevent unauthorized surveillance.


Protection Against Unwanted Calls:

Customers who activate the Do Not Disturb (DND) service should not receive unsolicited SMS or calls. The law allows customers to file complaints about repeated unwanted phone calls, providing a mechanism for redress and protection against nuisance calls.


Limit on SIM Cards per ID:

A maximum of nine SIM cards can be registered under one identity document. Exceeding this limit can result in a fine of ₹50,000 for the first offense and up to ₹2 lakh for subsequent offenses. This regulation aims to prevent the misuse of multiple SIM cards under a single identity.


Biometric Data Requirement for SIM Sales:

To enhance security, biometric data will be required for issuing SIM cards. This step ensures that SIM cards are only issued after proper verification, reducing the chances of fraudulent activities. Cloning of SIM cards is also classified as a punishable offense under this act.


Government Control in Emergencies:

The government has been granted the power to take control of any telecommunications services or networks during emergencies. For reasons related to security, public order, or crime prevention, the government can manage telecom services to maintain safety and order.

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