Surely, Filipinos share the predicament of receiving anonymous messages from various users. These messages even include unsafe links that might give fraudsters access to videos, images, and contacts listed on one's mobile phones.
The era of technology has always been beneficial to keeping people connected. However, during its development, the ways people committed crimes also diversified.
Innovations in communication technology must protect people by keeping them under control. Millions of Filipino individuals and businesses today thrive through the use of their mobile phones. These services make life easier and, at the same time, give rise to emerging security threats, including online fraud, identity theft, and data privacy breaches.
The pandemic was economically taxing people, which increased the frequency of Filipinos falling victim to phishing scams. Older people who have so much trust in the use of technology could go so far as to send their personal information voluntarily.
The strength of fraudsters comes from their anonymity as they proceed toward committing devious crimes. It makes it much harder to track down scammers and much more to hold them accountable. Doubling down cybersecurity efforts by private companies and the government must be enforced. This protects citizens from harassment, identity theft, and financial scams by people who are comfortably hiding from the cloak of anonymity.
The SIM Card Registration Bill Passed into Law
The report by World Bank in 2011 cited that 96% of the Philippines' total mobile cellular subscriptions were prepaid, while postpaid mobile phone users must submit identification documents before a contract signing. The prepaid subscriptions remain to have unidentified users. The rationale is no different from the registration vehicles and even companies—only that the SIM card registration is free.
Republic Act No. 11934, or the SIM Card Registration Act, was signed into law by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on October 10, 2022—boosting the government initiatives to keep fraudsters from continuing to provide inconveniences to Filipino citizens. Public Telecommunications Entities (PTEs) should now keep their records up-to-date to account for people's changes in mobile numbers. This law reminds citizens to keep restraints on sharing information with whoever they interact with online.
Advantages and disadvantages of sim card registration
This law is critical to combat the rising number of online criminal activities. It is to be noted that this only partially eliminates scams. The database will need to be protected by the best cybersecurity professionals in the country.
The core purpose of this is to provide accountability for sim card users as an aide to law enforcement to track down perpetrators of mobile-based cybercrimes. Victims can now report phishing scams with a higher possibility of apprehending the perpetrators.
SIM card registration reduces the receipt of spam and scam SMS messages. This also prevents criminals from taking advantage of their anonymity. Telecommunication companies may be ordered by the court to provide data for purposes of identity tracing.
The National Privacy Commission (NPC) assured that PTEs are only allowed to use the database in processing, activating, or deactivating a SIM or subscription. This is to prevent the use of a centralized server or database that increases the likelihood of security breaches.
The government's initiative to make sure the implementation is fast-tracked must still be done with caution as it would be a nationwide registration of biometric data from approximately 150 Million users and subscribers. Data breaches must be protected by an ultra-safe information system.
How to register your SIM
To prevent people from flocking and getting stuck in long queues, SIM cards can be registered online.
Government agencies and PTEs will set up registration facilities in areas with limited internet connectivity and telecommunications.
Upon registration, the following information is required: Full name, Date of Birth, Complete Address, Sex, Cellphone number, and SIM serial number.
Any of the following government-issued IDs or documents with a photo can be presented:
- Philippine National ID
- SSS/GSIS ID or eCard
- Driver's License
- NBI Clearance
- Police Clearance
- Firearm's license to own and Processed ID
- PRC ID
- IBP ID
- TIN ID
- OWWA ID
- Voter's ID
- Senior Citizen's Card
- UMID Card
- PWD Card
- Other valid government-issued IDs with photo
New SIM cards must be registered with the relevant PTE to activate them; existing SIM subscribers are mandated to register with PTEs within 180 days of the law's implementation. Failure to do so will result in automatic deactivation, and it can only be reactivated by the appropriate service provider.
Users must present valid government-issued IDs or similar documents with a photograph to verify their identity.
Minors are also eligible to register, but only in the name of a parent or guardian consenting to the registration.
Upon a user's death, an immediate family member must inform the PTE.
SIM Card registration in the Philippines for foreigners
The following information must be provided:
- Full name
- Passport Number
- Address in the Philippines
Any of the following must be provided:
- Proof of address in the Philippines
- Return ticket or departure ticket (for tourists)
Note that SIM cards registered by tourists shall only be valid for 30 days.
- Alien Employment Permit
- School registration and ID (for international students)
The law details penalties ranging from ₱100,000 to ₱1 million, which includes the following offenses as examples:
- Failure to register a SIM card;
- Breach of confidentiality;
- Registration under false identities or forging identification documents. The penalty for this will be imprisonment between six months and two years and/or a fine between ₱100,000 and ₱300,000.
- Impersonating another SIM card owner;
- Selling or reselling of a stolen SIM card. This is equivalent to imprisonment between six months and two years and/or a fine of ₱100,000 to ₱300,000.
- PTE, its dealers, agents, or employees, must not disclose any data obtained during the registration of SIM cards. Thou shall be penalized with a fine between ₱500,000 and four million pesos.
Remember that your phone now also serves as your wallet and memory of the most important documents. The moment one loses their phone, it must be reported immediately to the service provider for SIM duplication and registration by presenting an Affidavit of loss signed by a lawyer and two government-issued IDs.
Vista Residences Inc. takes part in ensuring online safety among Filipinos.
For more information on Vista Residences, email [email protected], follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.