The House of Representatives have okayed the SIM Card Registration Act, a bill that seeks to mandate users to register their postpaid and prepaid SIM cards.

Information and communications technology committee chair Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco has approved the consolidation of several bills under House Bill 14. Currently, only postpaid SIMs are registered with their respect telco providers. With the bill, prepaid SIMs will be required to register ownership as well.

The bill was conceived to help authorities track and dissuade the use of prepaid and postpaid SIM cards for criminal and fraudulent activities. It was met with some opposition in the past, but the recent spate of personalized scam text messages and smishing attempts have stressed why the law is needed.

Under the bill, public telecommunications entities (PTE) or authorized sellers will require customers to present a valid ID and register before they can purchase a SIM card.

All SIM cards will be required to register, even those issued and purchased before the bill is enacted.

Subscribers are going to be 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.

See also: Stay safe from smishing scams: Delete text messages with suspicious links from unknown numbers

Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and other countries have such a mandate when purchasing SIM cards, and it’s high time that the Philippines follow suit.

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Bryan is a tech enthusiast and self-admitted geek who enjoys blogging and watching NBA clips on YouTube. He has over 20 years of experience in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations from different industries such as telecommunications and banking.

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