Travel Data of Passengers Being Stolen by Fia Agents

Data of passengers was being stolen by travel agents and FIA employees at airports.

Travel agents were stealing documents of passengers who were returning from Umrah but recently, it was discovered that Federal Investigation Agency’s airport employees were also involved in this crime. The director of agency’s cybercrime department told the parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

Afzal Butt said:

“While travel agents were stealing the documents of passengers returning from Umrah, three FIA officials at the airport have also come under scrutiny for selling passenger details on the black market,”

The officials in these acts are either behind bars or on bail. These officials were stealing data in order to register phones illegally. The committee had met in order to hear a briefing given by the FIA, whose officials were committing a serious crime. The meeting was also attended by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) who is responsible to look over all such acts.

The stolen data was being misused in the open market to unblock non-customs paid phones for Rs2,000 to Rs3,000. PTA shared more than 45,000 cases that were related to theft with FIA for legal actions, but FIA said it cannot take any actions unless requested to by FIA.

Committee chair Senator Rubina Khalid said:

“The phone blocking system is draconian and ridiculous. This is the only country in the world where everything is becoming harder for citizens every day and the noose around their necks is ever tightening. The system has failed to curb the smuggling of mobile handsets, the very purpose for which it was developed,”

Senator Rehman Malik reminded that she has the power to completely change the system and suspend it. He also added that it is flawed system and should be removed. FBR mentioned that one cannot bring in a phone from 1st of July without paying duty on it and Azeem Bajwa, Chairman of PTA, supported this system by saying that the legal import of mobile phones has doubled ever since the implementation of the new system.

PTA has the authority to de-register and block the phones that have been registered through false information. It can track trace and locate from where and how the information or data was stolen and used.