Senator Grace Poe sponsored a bill that aims to address and penalize the proliferation of subscriber identity module (SIM) card-aided fraud in the country especially in the pandemic.
“Our reliance on our mobile phones for various financial and personal transactions requires us legislators to ensure that digital connectivity is safe for all users,” Poe said.
In her sponsorship speech, the veteran legislator noted that unregistered SIM cards can also be used to facilitate other crimes such as terrorism, cyberbank heists, the proliferation of unsolicited, even indecent or obscene messages, and the dissemination of massive disinformation campaigns that could cause chaos and disorder among the public.
“Criminals have taken advantage of our lax system to freely carry out their despicable schemes and evade the long arm of the law.”
“Criminals have taken advantage of our lax system to freely carry out their despicable schemes and evade the long arm of the law. The fact that these crimes are flourishing under the current system only proves that the system is flawed and needs to be changed,” the seasoned lawmaker pointed out.
The proposed “SIM Card Registration Act” or Senate Bill No. 2395 under Committee Report No. 306 shall require all public telecommunications entities to make the registration of all SIM cards a prerequisite to their sale where subscribers need to submit a registration form accomplished electronically and present a valid identification card.
The bill also provides penalties not only for failure to comply with the registration requirement and breach of confidentiality, but also for using fictitious identities to register SIM cards, spoofing and the unauthorized sale of registered SIM cards.
“This bill is not the be-all and end-all in our fight against any form of digital crime. It is only one of the measures that we need to put in place as Filipinos increasingly turn to digital banking and payment channels,” the lady senator explained.
A total of 155 countries in the world have adopted laws that require the mandatory registration of SIM cards which includes nations with the highest regard for data privacy rights such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, and most countries in the European Union.
“The privacy of consumers shall continue to be given the highest regard.”
Poe also underscored that the privacy of consumers shall continue to be given the highest regard where the National Telecommunications Commission will ensure that the centralized SIM card registry will be in accordance with the Data Privacy Act 2012.
“Ang mga impormasyong makakalap ay maaari lamang makuha ng mga awtoridad sa utos ng isang Korte. It will only be given upon finding of probable cause that a specific mobile number was or is being used in the commission of a crime, or that it was utilized as a means to commit a malicious, fraudulent or unlawful act,” she concluded.