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SIM REGISTRATION BILL GETS SENATE OK – POE

The Senate again gave its nod to the bill requiring the registration of subscriber identity modules (SIMs) to curb mobile-phone-aided crimes in the country.

Senate Bill (SB) No. 1310 or the proposed “SIM Registration Act” hurdled the upper chamber on the third and final reading with 20 affirmative votes, and no negative votes or abstention from senators.

The bill is the first legislative measure passed by the upper chamber in the 19th Congress.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, is the first legislative measure passed by the upper chamber in the 19th Congress.

Re-filed in the 19th Congress, the measure seeks to regulate the registration and use of SIMs by mandating subscribers to register with telecommunication entities before SIMs are activated. Existing subscribers must also register or risk deactivating or retiring their SIMs.

Registration includes the submission of the full names, dates of birth, and addresses of end-users, as well as valid government-issued identification cards to verify their identity.

SB 1310 also prohibits “spoofing,” or the act of transmitting misleading or inaccurate information about the source of phone calls or text messages to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.

The bill also penalizes the sale of stolen SIMs.

Telcos, on the other hand, would be tasked to keep the subscribers’ information in a database, while the Department of Information and Communications Technology shall conduct an annual audit of their compliance with information security standards.

All submitted information is “absolutely confidential”, but may be disclosed if a competent authority subpoenas them for an investigation of a crime, or a malicious, fraudulent, or unlawful act committed using a specific mobile number.

“Finally, we can now do something aside from just ignoring, deleting or blocking the numbers with fraudulent or spam messages.”

“Finally, we can now do something aside from just ignoring, deleting or blocking the numbers with fraudulent or spam messages,” Poe said.

“We have now in our hands the means to unmask criminals who have been hiding for so long under the protection of anonymity, and to bring them to justice,” the veteran legislator concluded.

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