Prepaid SIM card registration is finally pushing through in the Philippines. The House of Representatives has approved Senate Bill No. 176 or the SIM Card Registration Act that mandates prepaid SIM card users to present a valid ID with a photo and sign a registration form from the service provider of the SIM card. The same will be asked when purchasing new prepaid SIM cards.
Failure to comply with the act will result in the deactivation of the prepaid SIM card.
The mandate aims to help authorities track and dissuade the use of prepaid and postpaid SIM cards from criminal and fraudulent activities. The use of prepaid numbers for SMS scams has proliferated in the last couple of weeks, which the new bill hopes to slow down.
Under the bill, service providers will be maintaining a database of prepaid subscribers that they are required to share with the Department of Information and Technology Communications (DICT) every six months. Subscribers, however, are still protected by a confidentiality clause that will protect their identities from unlawful use, unless ordered by the court or subpoena in relation to an investigation or a crime.
Other countries have such a mandate when purchasing SIM cards, and it’s high time that the Philippines follow suit.