After NBI registers SIM card using monkey’s face, Poe wants ‘live selfie’ required
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has proposed requiring a “live selfie” or photograph from persons seeking to register their subscriber identity module (SIM) cards in light of a recent issue where animal faces were successfully used by investigators.
Poe, in a statement on Friday, said that even with the implementation of Republic Act No. 11934 or the SIM Registration Act, scammers are still trying to devise ways to go around the law, making the requirement of live photographs necessary.
The senator also mentioned this after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) showed in a Senate hearing that they were able to register SIM cards using a monkey’s picture that bore different names.
“Kahit nandyan na ang SIM Registration law, hindi nawala ang scammers. Kaya pakiusap ko na isama na ang live selfie sa requirement ng registration,” Poe said.
(Even if the SIM Registration law is there, scammers are still around. That’s why I suggest that we include a live selfie as a requirement for registration.)
“Ang batas ay ginawa para mas pangalagaan ang ating mga kababayan laban sa mga manloloko,” she added.
(The law was crafted to safeguard our fellow Filipinos from fraudsters.)
Just this Tuesday, NBI Cybercrime Division Chief Attorney Jeremy Lotoc said they tried to register SIM cards from different telecommunication companies (telcos) the night before the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Services, which Poe heads.
Lotoc said they used the face of an animal in different entries, and they were accepted — proving that fraudsters can still register fake personalities for their SIM cards despite the law.
Poe also noted that several raids recently showed thousands of pre-registered SIM cards were discovered, which even raises the need for selfies as another way of verification.
“We have seen that fake government IDs can get through the telcos’ system. The selfies will be an added line of defense in the SIM verification process,” she said.
Last April 7, three individuals were arrested in Makati City’s Barangay Poblacion after selling pre-registered SIM cards, which is a violation of R.A. No. 11934.
Then last June 3, police officers managed to seize over 7,000 registered SIM cards from a Taiwanese national and his two Filipino accomplices during a raid in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
Poe however reminded that telecommunication companies should also be asked to protect subscribers from potential privacy violations as they are submitting photos of themselves.
“Hindi simpleng registration ang pakay ng batas na ito. Pagsisiguro ito na ang perang naipon ng ating mga kababayan ay hindi mananakaw ng manloloko gamit mismo ang SIM,” he added.
(The law’s intent is not simply registration. It wants to protect the money earned by Filipinos so that it would not be stolen away by fraudsters using SIM cards.)