That’s not my num­ber(s)

Viet Nam News - - NATIONAL -

re­cent Gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion that re­quires

phone users to sup­ply ser­vice providers with per­sonal in­for­ma­tion has led to some grum­bling over the has­sle, but also given some peo­ple a nasty sur­prise as they learn that their ID cards were used to reg­is­ter sev­eral num­bers with dif­fer­ent ser­vice providers.

“I’m not ok with that at all. Not only it’s a se­ri­ous breach of my pri­vacy when my in­for­ma­tion was stolen and used with­out my con­sent, it’s also a se­cu­rity risk. What if some­one used those num­bers, which were under my name, to black­mail peo­ple or make death threats or to swin­dle? Would I be in trouble with the law, then?” said a very un­happy cus­tomer af­ter he learned that his ID was used to reg­is­ter three dif­fer­ent mo­bile phone num­bers.

His wor­ries are far from ground­less. There are an ab­surd num­ber of “trash” SIM cards in the coun­try. An in­spec­tion car­ried out by ser­vice providers ear­lier this year re­vealed some 23 mil­lion, many of which were used to send spam texts and fraud mes­sages be­fore be­ing dis­carded with vir­tu­ally no way to track the per­pe­tra­tors.

Fur­ther in­spec­tion of ser­vice providers’ cus­tomer data­base also led to less than re­as­sur­ing rev­e­la­tions about how easy it is to ac­ti­vate a num­ber. For in­stance, one sin­gle ID was found to have been used to ac­ti­vate more than 18,000 num­bers. It is hard to be­lieve that it was done with­out the provider’s knowl­edge for such an ac­tion would raise a red flag in any data­base man­age­ment sys­tem.

Mo­bile phone users in Vieät Nam will have some time to sub­mit their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion again if they wish to keep their num­bers. Among the many rules, they will be asked to send in a por­trait photo. Hope­fully this will come as a sil­ver lin­ing amid the bu­reau­cratic bur­den for the many selfie-lovers out there. Fi­nally, an ac­tual use for years of self­ies.

Rent-an-AC busi­ness in bloom

Sum­mer is fast-ap­proach­ing and be­fore long the trop­i­cal heat will be in full swing. It is a busy time for stores that sell air con­di­tion­ers as peo­ple are gear­ing up for an­other hot sum­mer. They are, how­ever, quite pricey as even a ba­sic model can set you back at least US$300.

Think­ing about get­ting an air con­di­tioner but wor­ried about the high cost? Luck­ily, you can now rent an AC in­stead of buy­ing one.

“It just makes sense. I don’t want to pay in full for some­thing I will prob­a­bly use for only two, three months a year. Af­ter the hottest months, we will just switch back to us­ing fans to save on elec­tric­ity,” said Traàn Quoác Huy, a HCM City res­i­dent who just signed a con­tract on a two month rent of 2 AC units for his house.

There are many rent-an-AC busi­nesses in the city. Most will charge about $25 per month while some may charge more than $40 for newer models and on-site ser­vices and re­pairs. In­stal­la­tion is free but renters are of­ten asked to put down a de­posit, which will be re­turned at the end of the rental pe­riod.

“We have a lit­tle boy over three years-old. He sleeps much bet­ter through the night with the AC on. We used rent-an-AC last year for three months. It costs us a bit more than $90, a frac­tion of the price for a new unit,” said Traàn Kim Nguyeân, a mother from District 4 in HCM City, “We de­cided we would go with it this year, too.”

Should you find it’s time to re­place that old and noisy AC unit on the wall, maybe take a mo­ment to think whether it is bet­ter to rent one or to buy one. You won’t have to clean them of­ten, ei­ther. That must count as a plus for the rent-an-AC busi­nesses, right? — VNS

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