Friday, June 21, 2024

House passes SIM card registration bill on 2nd reading

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, Sept. 14, approved on second reading House Bill 14, which requires the mandatory registration of all subscribe identity module (SIM) cards in mobile devices.

House ICT committee chair and Navotas City representative Tobias Reynald Tiangco
Photo from House of Representatives

In his sponsorship speech, Committee on Information and Communications Technology chairperson and Navotas City representative Tobias Reynald Tiangco said the country’s large number of prepaid mobile subscriptions provides opportunities for nefarious individuals, as well as criminal acts for terrorists and insurgents.

He added that the anonymity of prepaid SIM cards poses a significant threat to law enforcement, banking and financial frauds, kidnapping, sexual exploitation, cybertheft, and other similar crimes. This is mainly due to the untraceable nature of disposable prepaid SIM cards, said Tiangco adding that that the increasing prevalence of text scams exposes an individual’s vulnerability to cyber criminals.

Under the proposed “SIM Card Registration Act”, end-users will be required to present a valid identification document with photo to ascertain their identity when availing of SIM cards from local telcos or direct sellers.

Following the verification, end-users would be required to fill out and sign a control-numbered registration form. It reads: “Failure to of an end user to comply with the requirements shall be a ground for the PTE (public telecommunication entity) or direct seller to refuse the sale and issuance of a SIM card.”

This bill, according to its sponsors, aims to:

  1. Regulate the sale and distribution of SIM cards,
  2. Promote end user accountability,
  3. Prevent the proliferation of scams and data breaches, and
  4. Assist law enforcement agencies in resolving crimes involving the use of mobile phones.

HB 14 is a consolidation of 16 similar bills and was already approved on third reading during the 18th Congress.

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