In last week’s report, the House of Representatives has approved House Bill 5793 or the SIM Card Registration Act for final reading. In today’s news, it has been already approved by the Senate.
After voting with a result of 21-0-0, the Senate passed on the third and final reading Senate Bill (SB) 2395 or the aforementioned SIM Card Registration Act yesterday December 16, 2021.
In case you are not familiar with the bill, its purpose is to require mobile phone users to register their SIM cards with their telco firms. Noncompliance will result in the termination of your SIM card by the telco firm.
This is pushed so that it could help the mitigation of SIM card, internet, and/or electronic communication-related crimes that include text scams, harassment/indecent messages, bank fraud, libel, defamation from anonymous sources, trolling, hate speech, and the proliferation of False Information or “Fake News”.
A Provision in Section 5 of the article, which has been introduced by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, will require all social media companies that operate in the Philippines to make the use of real names and phone numbers during registration a must.
Senator Drilon has also been eyeing a separate law that would prevent anyone from making anonymous accounts and would enable the identification of online trolls.
Drilon said a troll “is a virus that hides behind anonymity and continues to spread nothing but hatred and disinformation.”
“This provision is a solution to the anonymity that provides the environment for trolls and other malicious attacks to thrive in the age of social media,” Drilon said.
Punishment for violating this if it becomes law is jail time between 6 months up to 12 years, a fine that could cost up to PHP 200,000, or both.
“The measure establishes another layer of security protection for Filipinos which will hopefully deter criminals from perpetrating their wicked plans. It is high time that we beef up our own infrastructures to address these threats to security,” said Senator Grace Poe who sponsored the bill as chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.
Just this past week the National Privacy Commission has launched an investigation into text messages that are offering jobs that scams people. Moreover, last week, clients of BDO were affected by crimes regarding online transactions with accounts that have been compromised and are now being probed by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
In order for this bill to become law, the House and the Senate would need to have a bicameral conference committee to reconcile conflicting details in their respective measure or one may simply adopt the other’s version to push the approval faster.
The Congress-approved final version would then be presented to President Duterte for his approval and signature.