Friday, June 21, 2024

Provision on SIM activation only after registration proposed in new bill

A lawyer for local operator Globe Telecom said during a Senate hearing on Thursday, Sept. 8, that lawmakers may consider inserting a provision in the proposed SIM registration bill that requires SIM cards to be activated only after registration.

Sen. Nancy Binay
Photo from Senate

Ariel Tubayan, head of the policy division, corporate, and legal services group of Globe, said that SIM activation only after registration is one of the best practices being done in other countries where SIM card registration is being implemented.

Tubayan made the suggestion to Sen. Nancy Binay who asked resource persons from the telecommunications industry whether they were able to look at best practices from other countries, like Malaysia.

Unlike post-paid SIM cards which are only activated after subscribing to a mobile phone plan or subscription, pre-paid SIM cards are pre-activated and ready for use once bought in a store or reseller.

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Committee on Public Services which conducted the hearing, has raised alarm over the increased proliferation of unwarranted messages that now contain the names of mobile phone users.

“Scams like these highlight the need to institutionalize a protection mechanism for millions of mobile phone users in the country. That’s why we are reopening the door for this proposal,” she said, referring to proposed SIM Card Registration Act, which seeks to curb mobile phone and Internet-aided crimes by mandating the registration of SIM cards.

“The burden should not be on the consumers to avoid clicking suspicious links or to avoid falling for scams, and the solution should not be just to block the unknown number,” Poe said.

“The onus should also be with the telecom companies to ensure privacy [in] consumer data and on the government to plug the gaps and face fully the dangers in the current telecoms system,” she stressed.

For his part, Sen. Joel Villanueva emphasized the need for the government to protect the interest and rights of mobile subscribers while ensuring the free flow of information.

“It is imperative that the interest of our telephone and mobile subscribers are protected and upheld in line with the policy of the state to protect the fundamental right to privacy of communication while ensuring the free flow of information,” said Villanueva, who earlier filed Senate Bill No. 366 or the Anti-Spam Act of 2022, which will require prior consent of subscribers before any advertisement or promotional message is sent to them.


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