May 17, 2023
DoT with the help of AI solution - ASTR blocks over 36 Lakh 'Phoney' mobile connections
The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) with the help of ASTR, an artificial intelligence and facial recognition-powered solution, has detected 40.87 lakh dubious mobile connections and blocked 36.61 lakh connections as of now.
As per the data by DoT, West Bengal holds the top position for the largest number of SIMs disconnected (12,34,111), followed by Haryana (5,24,287), Bihar-including Jharkhand (3,27,246), Madhya Pradesh (2,28,072), and Uttar Pradesh-East (2,04,658).
Similar actions were also taken in other states like Gujarat, Assam, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh has the lowest number of cases of disconnecting SIM connections, the number is 3,491.
As per authorities, fraudsters obtain mobile connections using fake or forged documents to conduct cybercrimes. So DoT developed the AI-powered tool ASTR, which also includes data analytics techniques to identify SIMs issued using such documents.
In the first phase with paper-based KYC, the authorities analysed more than 87 crore mobile connections. The Param-Sidhhi Supercomputer was employed for such big data processing.
During the investigation, there were several cases when fraudsters used a single image to get hundreds of connections. Apart from the detected and blocked dubious connections, the service providers have blacklisted 40,123 Point of Sales (PoS)-where a customer makes the payment for the services-involved in selling such mobile connections, and more than 150 FIRs have been filed across India.
Uttar Pradesh-East has the highest number of blacklisted PoS (13,067) followed by West Bengal (10,915), Kolkata (3,937), Haryana (3,024), Bihar-including Jharkhand (2,904), and Odisha (2,417).
Union Minister for Railways, Communications and Electronics & IT, Ashwini Vaisnaw said during the launch of Sanchar Sathi, “In one case, a person made 5,300 connections using the same image with various names, while in another, a person made 6,800 connections in a similar fashion. These are some extreme examples of such incidents.”