SIM registration bill hurdles 2nd reading in Senate

The bill seeking to mandate the registration of subscriber identity modules (SIM) in the Philippines is again close to hurdling the Senate.

SIM-bill

Sponsored by Senate public services committee chairperson Sen. Grace Poe, Senate Bill (SB) No. 1310 or the proposed SIM Registration Act was approved by senators on second reading during the chamber’s plenary session on Monday, Sept. 19.

SB 1310 aims to curb mobile phone and electronic communication-aided crimes — from texts scams to terrorist activities — by requiring mobile phone users to present valid government ID and documents in registering their SIMs.

Re-filed in the 19th Congress, the proposed measure has been amended to expand its coverage from ordinary SIM cards to newer types of SIMs, such as eSIMS.

Under the Senate-approved bill, minors who bear SIMs shall register using their parents’ or guardians’ names.

Telcos, meanwhile, will be tasked to protect the submitted personal information in a secure database. Their compliance with security standards shall be audited by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) annually.

Any breach of confidentiality will be punished, Poe assured.

Poe said SB 1310 also included penalties for “spoofing,” or the altering of the SIMs to make it appear that messages were sent by other registered users.

“The intent of this proposed measure is to strengthen our cybercrime laws,” Poe said.

Poe acknowledged her colleagues for finetuning the bill. She expressed hope that its passage would help deter crimes committed with the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices.

“It’s not a silver bullet, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Poe emphasized.

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