fresh no ads
SIM Card Registration Act: Pros and cons |


SIM Card Registration Act: Pros and cons

Kristofer Purnell -
SIM Card Registration Act: Pros and cons
Subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.
The STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Yesterday, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed into law the SIM Card Registration Act, the first legislative measure enacted in his presidency.

The SIM Card Registration Act, or Republic Act 11934, will require all SIM card users to register their personal information with telecommunications companies or telcos, details which can be made available upon the request of a court or other law enforcement agencies.

Lawmakers have been pushing for the measure following the recent spreading of spam text messages that led to scams and the hacking of several subscribers' personal accounts. 

Former President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed a previous version of the act in April 2022 due to concerns over privacy and freedom of expression rights that such a provision requiring the registration of social media accounts might threaten.

While provisions on social media registration is not in the signed version of the law, there are other concerns by the public which could be detrimental to privacy rights alongside a crackdown on scammers.

Pros of registering SIM cards

Telcos and direct sellers of SIM cards will only sell cards to people who present a valid photo ID, ensuring that the sold SIM card will belong to the said individual.

After signing the SIM Card Registration act into law, Marcos Jr. said that any registered information "shall be treated as absolutely confidential unless accessed to this information as been granted with the written consent of the subscriber."

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

SIM card registration for minors will bear the names of a consenting parent or guardian, according to a copy of the Senate bill on third reading.

Telcos will be required to submit a verified list of their dealers nationwide, and the National Telecommunications Commission will require firms to submit an updated list quarterly.

Data privacy leaks and other cons

As brought up by IT experts and ICT rights advocates, RA 11934 could intrude on users' privacy and might not be effective in discouraging scams and crimes via text messages or phones.

Cybersecurity policy analyst Mary Grace Mirandilla-Santos told last February that registering SIM cards "has the potential to put the security, privacy, and welfare of citizens at risk," citing experiences from other developing countries and the European Union, thereby posing more risks than benefits.

Related: A new law now requires SIM card registration. What happens next?

Mirandilla-Santos added that having a central database for subscribers' information will become an attractive target for cyber attackers and 100% security cannot be guaranteed.

Former officer-in-charge of the National Privacy Commission's Privacy Policy Office Ivy Grace Villasoto expounded on this by saying that mandatory registration may result in the intrusion of a person's privacy rights, specifically "a heightened risk of the occurrence of personal data breaches and unauthorized processing of personal data."

Another thing Villasoto pointed out is that some subscribers may be digitally, socially, or financially excluded if they are unable to register their SIM cards due to having no valid IDs or cannot shoulder the additional registration costs.

Criminals may also be able to use stolen SIM cards or IDs, emails, and mobile numbers of different countries to commit cyberattacks, identity theft, online fraud, and data breaches, not to mention that registered users may be the subject of surveillance. — With reports from Kaycee Valmonte, Xave Gregorio, Ramon Royandoyan, and Angelica Yang

RELATED: 'Mandatory SIM card registration puts privacy at risk, might not curb crime'

vuukle comment




Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with