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CRTC, Telecoms Refuse to Disclose Info on SIM Swapping Scams in Canada

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SIM swapping is a modern-age scam that is on the rise across the globe. While its presence in Canada is unmistakable, Canadian network operators and their federal regulator — the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) — are refusing to disclose any data regarding how prevalent SIM swapping is in the country or what is being done to combat it, reports Vice.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), a non-profit organization fighting for consumer rights, requested information on the extent of SIM swapping in Canada, proposed countermeasures to the scam, and when these countermeasures would be implemented, from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), the industry group for telecoms in Canada.

When their request fell on deaf ears, the PIAC requested the same information under the Telecommunications Act, to which the CWTA replied with heavily redacted documents that shed no light on the matter.

With no choice left, the PIAC filed a request for the very same information with the CRTC in July. In its response, the CRTC denied the advocacy group’s request and supported the CWTA’s decision to not publicly disclose information on what is being done to prevent SIM swapping, or its scope, in Canada.

The federal regulator also denied a request to open a public consultation on the matter. To justify its decision, the CWTA stated that revealing “technical and procedural steps to be used to enhance the verification process” will prove detrimental to the fight against SIM swapping scams.

While revealing mission-critical operating procedures to the public is understandably not an option for network providers and the government, a disclosure of less-compromising information such as statistics on how common SIM swapping is in Canada may be needed to ensure consumers feel “involved”.

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