ISLAMABAD - The SIM Information System introduced by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has exposed terrible mismanagement of users data by franchisers and retailers, revealing that dozens of SIMs have been registered in the name of nearly each cell phone user. I was really horrified to see that 19 SIMs were registered in my name, including 8 SIMs of a cell phone company that I never used, Muhammad Saleem, worker of a news channel, told TheNation. He said he feared misuse of SIMs registered in his name, adding he was worried how to take enough time out of his busy schedule to go to franchises of different cell phone companies to get the extra SIMs blocked. This correspondent observed a number of people who sent messages on 668, the PTAs SIM Information System, and received replies revealing that much more SIMs were registered in their name than they actually owned. When contacted, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Spokesperson Khurram Mehran said that PTA was aware of the misuse of users data by retailers and, therefore, it introduced the SIM Information System to provide users with an opportunity to get blocked those SIMs which they did not own. He further informed that so far PTA had received requests from 3.82 million cell phone users seeking their SIM information data and more than 0.4 million SIMs were removed from users NICs after they submitted undertakings in this regard. The data being examined through this system is updated till January 31, 2009, Mehran said. A retailer opined that users data was misused during the early days of cell phone revolution in the country when companies demanded copies of users NICs from the retailers. As most of the customers had no copies of their NICs to readily provide the same to the retailers, the retailers used to sell out the SIM to them and submitted copy of some other persons NIC with that SIM, he explained. As the data checked through PTAs SIM Information System is updated only till January 31, 2009, the irregularities committed during the online SIM registration procedure will be known later. Critics opine that the online registration system, too, was not effective, as anyone could obtain a copy of someones NIC and could use its details for registering SIMs. The only confidential information that PTA relies on for online registration of SIM is the name of mother of NIC holder, but it is very easy to obtain someones NIC and learn ones mothers name for ulterior motives. Given the security environment of the country, PTA is required to adopt a foolproof and effective system for registration of SIMs to protect cell phone users and curb use of cell phone in terrorist activities.