Senator Grace Poe focused on matters of the verification processes for the SIM Registration Act. during her privileged speech during the plenary session held on Monday, the 12th of December 2022. She referred to details found in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) “vague verification process”. She did hold the team at the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in high regard for the work that they have done so far.
She is just asking for further clarification on the IRR details for this is of utmost importance and will greatly affect millions of subscribers as well.
Poe digressed, “However, we note with grave concern the vague verification process under the said IRR. The importance of having a verification process cannot be emphasized enough — it serves as the first line of defense against the misuse of our mobile telecommunication systems to perpetrate national security threats and identity theft in the case of end-users.”
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Request for more guidelines
The IRR is still lacking in further details on some processes and Poe is hopeful that NTC will be coming up with more guidelines on this soon.
“In order to facilitate the immediate implementation of the law, we are constrained to trust the assurances given by the Technical Working Group who drafted the IRR that the NTC will continuously issue the necessary guidelines to guide the telcos in the performance of their duties under the law, particularly specifying the processes for verifying submitted information,” she said.
NTC can look into including an in-platform facial validation — since this is currently used in the Philippines by applications like GCash and in other countries, namely, Singapore for SIM registration.
On this note, Poe has reiterated that Congress will continue to monitor this matter for possible “oversight functions” once there is strict implementation enacted on the IRR. She also emphasized,
“This law was created precisely to stomp down the proliferation of fraud and crime in the communications system. We will not allow for it to be another avenue for the commission of fraud and identity theft.”
Data security should also be the focus of the Telco’s end
Poe also mentioned that telecommunication companies should vividly show how they have also invested in their platforms on how they will be able to keep the data they’ll gather secure, safe and confidential. There should be very specific instructions and boundaries established when handling the data the subscribers will be providing and how Telcos will also be moving forward soon after implementation.
Poe said the IRR should very clearly explain all details on SIM registration requirements and processes, giving telecommunication entities and the public adequate knowledge and time to comply.
She made the disclosure in sponsoring the P11.32-billion proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) before the Senate plenary.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the SIM Registration Act into law last October 10 as a deterrent to mobile phone-aided crimes such as text scams. The said registration is a prerequisite to the activation of the SIM.
All existing SIM users must register within a period of 180 days, which could be extended for another 120 days.
The National Telecommunications Commission, in coordination with the DICT, the National Privacy Commission, telcos and consumer groups, is mandated to issue the IRR 60 days from the law’s effectivity.
Things are going to go at a fast pace once the changes are implemented when it comes to SIM registration. Poe’s concern is valid and it’s good to know that she, along with other officials, will be monitoring how things will be executed and will be addressing any possible oversight.
Any comments on this? Should we still be concerned if there might be a breach especially when it comes to privacy? What can be the measures that will be enough for government to tap into the information held by Telcos? Your feedback and insights are important to us. Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks!