Said to curb spam texts and crime, SIM card registration now a law

Said to curb spam texts and crime, SIM card registration now a law
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. signed into law the SIM Card Registration Act on Monday, October 10, 2022.
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MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed into law an act requiring SIM Card users to register their information with telecommunications companies, making it available upon request of a court or other law enforcement agencies.

The mandatory SIM card registration is the first legislative measure passed by the 19th Congress.

"Any information in the SIM card registration shall be treated as absolutely confidential unless accessed to this information as been granted with the written consent of the subscriber," Marcos said in a speech on Monday.

Then President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed a similar measure in April due to privacy concerns, but recent flooding of scam text messages to users all over the country has renewed support for the measure despite doubts from ICT rights advocates on whether it will work.

The chief executive said the new law signals the administration’s national policy “to ensure that technology shall only be used to improve our people’s lives.”

READ: Pinoys lost millions of dollars to text scams – government 

With the signing of the mandatory SIM card registration into law, telecommunications entities will now require individuals to present a valid indentification document whenever buying a SIM card. 

Existing prepaid users, meanwhile, will be given a limited period of time to register with their respective providers. Failure to do so will result in the deactivation of their SIM cards. 

READ: Cell phone users who don't register SIM risk deactivation 

"The use of false or fictitious information, the use of fictitious identities, the use of fraudulent documents or identifications to register a SIM card shall also be dealt with by appropriate penalties," Marcos said.

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