Friday, June 21, 2024

Solon hits chaotic SIM registration, suggests batch processing

With mobile phone subscribers expressing their frustration on social media regarding the inoperative or slow SIM registration portals, a lawmaker has suggested batch processing way to register all SIM cards.

Bohol 3rd district representative Alexie Besas Tutor, one of the authors of House Bill 0014 which became Republic Act 11934 mandating SIM registration, said local telcos should consider adopting an incremental strategy on registering the tens of millions of SIMs instead of opening the doors wide open all at once.

“They should have known their systems would be unable to handle the deluge of applications. Of course, their systems would be overwhelmed and crash,” Tutor said in a media statement.

The telcos, she said, should instead have a more orderly way based on the first and last digits of the SIM numbers so that not everyone would be registering from everywhere all at once.

“They could simply issue a schedule listing the batches of SIM numbers that should register per week,” the lawmaker said.

Meanwhile, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) reminded local telcos of their obligation under the Data Privacy Act of 2012 when processing the personal data of mobile subscribers.

The NTC made the advisory after some netizens raised the red flag on the use by the telcos of the SIM registration to solicit consent to send commercial and promotional alerts to their subscribers.

“Ensuring the privacy of our registrants is paramount to instilling trust in the full implementation of the SIM Card Registration Act. This will be bolstered if PTEs [telcos] can guarantee that all the data in their possession are protected against misuse, unauthorized processing, data breaches, and all other security incidents,” the NTC said.

But this not sit well with privacy lawyer Jamel Jacob, who said in a Facebook post that the government has essentially given the telcos unbridled access to a “digital goldmine” of personal data.  

“Apparently, despite the fact that the law explicitly says that the SIM card registration database shall only be used to ‘process, activate and deactivate’ a person’s SIM or subscription and not ‘for any other purpose’ (see: Section 6, RA 11934), the agency [NTC] is willing to overlook this point as long as a subscriber gives consent,” Jacob said.

“I disagree with the NPC’s view. Because of what the law expressly proscribes, telcos should not even be in a position to ask for people’s consent. Instead of simply reminding people not to agree to the other uses of their personal data, it should actually be instructing Globe to remove the entire consent mechanism. You don’t need to ask for people’s consent for data processing that’s connected to the registration system because the legal basis for such processing is a law. That is clear as day,” he added.

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