Ensure data privacy in SIM listup, telcos told | Inquirer News

Ensure data privacy in SIM listup, telcos told

/ 05:36 AM December 31, 2022

Ensure data privacyin SIM listup, telcos told

INFO PROTECTION Some mobile phone users have warned of possible data privacy breach as they proceed to register their SIM starting Dec. 27. The government has asked telecommunication companies to be responsible in securing their subscribers’ information. —RICHARD A. REYES

In response to data privacy concerns raised by the public, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) on Friday said it had directed telecommunication companies to put notices and tick boxes unrelated to the online SIM (subscriber identification module) card registration on a page that is separate from those required for the listup.

Privacy Commissioner John Henry Naga especially cited the tick boxes indicating that the mobile subscribers had allowed the telcos to share their personal data with third-party entities.


The NPC asked the three telcos—Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), Globe Telecom (Globe) and Dito Telecommunity (Dito)—to include modifications and improvements on their websites and registration application forms.



“Telcos must ensure the secure, ethical and responsible handling of data, especially in all data processing being conducted in compliance with the SIM Registration Act,” Naga said.

He added that the obligation of the telcos to comply with the SIM Card Registration Act comes with the responsibility of ensuring that data privacy and protection is upheld.

This includes the implementation of mechanisms which assure their subscribers that the data collected from them are for the purpose of the registration, Naga said.

Telcos included checkboxes that asked their subscribers for consent to use their personal data for marketing, profiling or sharing with third-party partners, alongside other requirements on the same screen where subscribers filled up online SIM registration forms.

The placement of both optional and mandatory checkboxes on the same page or screen could make it appear to some registrants that they were required to check all of them to complete the registration process.

The privacy commission said that Smart clarified that those were optional and were being included to determine whether the SIM card was being used by an individual or by a “juridical entity.”



Globe said that getting subscribers to receive commercial and promotional notifications and allow third-party sharing, among others, were optional, too, according to the NPC.

Dito’s SIM card registration process did not include tick boxes seeking consent to marketing, profiling or sharing with its third-party partners.Facebook user Clint Gazan advised the public to carefully read the information on the checklist provided in the Globe registration portal before agreeing to them.

“The other boxes are only optional, and you will be giving consent to the telco to sell your data to third-party companies for promotions and advertisements if you decide to tick them,” Gazan said.

“The worst part here: while aside from your privacy getting compromised and being more vulnerable to spam and other scams, telcos may profit without you getting any sort of compensation due to your data getting sold,” he added.

Error message

Twitter user @mikoySings, on the other hand, said that the registration will not properly proceed without checking all the boxes in Smart’s registration portal.

“In my experience on Smart SIM reg, it seems that I can’t get through until I tick the optional box. Happened on both occasions in registering my two SIM. Error message incessantly appears unless optional box is ticked,” a tweet from this person said, partly in Filipino.

The NPC said the telcos made a commitment to implement the changes on their SIM card registration websites and mobile applications as soon as possible.

The registration of SIM cards in the Philippines started last Dec. 27. One of the objectives of the registration is to curb the proliferation of scams using mobile phones.

According to the National Telecommunications Commission, more than 3 million SIM cards have been enrolled as of Dec. 28. INQ


SIM card registration: A step-by-step guide

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TAGS: data privacy, NTC

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