SIM registration bill just a step away from becoming law
MANILA, Philippines — A bill that would mandate the ownership registration of all SIM cards in the country now only awaits the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Senate and the House of Representatives ratified on Wednesday in their respective sessions the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 2395 and House Bill No. 5793, or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act.
The proposed law is seen to curb fraud and other crimes aided by SIM cards. It also includes a provision against online trolls.
Under the bill, social media account providers shall require a real name and phone number upon creating an account.
The reconciled SIM card registration bill mandates all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) to register SIM cards as a prerequisite to their sale and activation.
All existing SIM card subscribers with active services shall register within 180 days from the effectivity of the proposed law once enacted, Senator Grace Poe said.
Poe is the bill’s sponsor in the Senate as chairperson of the Senate public service committee.
During the bicam meeting, Poe said lawmakers have clarified that the sale of SIM cards to foreign nationals shall be allowed, provided that they comply with specific requirements, such as their passport and proof of address in the Philippines, among others.
Meanwhile, data collected from registration shall be forwarded and kept by the concerned PTE to a centralized database, which shall “strictly serve as a register for the processing, activation or deactivation of subscription and shall not be used for any other purpose.”
“Whatever information obtained in the registration process cannot be disclosed to any person except in compliance with any law authorizing disclosure, such as in the case of the Data Privacy Act; or in compliance with a court order or any other legal process; or with the written consent of the subscriber. No waiver of absolute confidentiality is allowed,” Poe said.
Poe added that the “important provision” was added during the bicam meeting, mandating PTEs and social media providers to keep relevant data and information for 10 years from when the end-user deactivates their mobile number or social media account.
“We hope that by legislating this measure, we would be able to eradicate mobile phone, internet, or electronic communication-aided criminal activities,” the senator said.
“This has been a long time coming but I hope that the passage of this bill will result in a safer and more secure mobile use and cyberspace here in our country,” she added.
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