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Senate, House ratify bicam report on registration of SIM cards, social media accounts

The Senate and the House of Representatives have ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the measure requiring the registration of  mobile phone subscriber identity module cards or SIMs.

The measure also provided that all social media networks should require the real name and phone number of users upon the creation of their accounts.

According to Senator Grace Poe, the chair of the Senate’s contingent to the bicameral conference committee,  lawmakers used the House version as the working draft for the final version of the proposed SIM Card Registration Act but adopted the amendments from the senators.

Among the provisions that they agreed to include in the proposed measure is the line mandating all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) to require the registration of SIM cards as a prerequisite to their sale and activation.

Poe said all existing SIM card subscribers with active services shall register within 180 days from the effectivity of the proposed law.

The PTEs will be authorized to deactivate SIM card numbers that have not been registered within the prescribed period.

The sale of SIM cards to foreign nationals will also be allowed under the proposed law, but subject to their compliance with certain requirements such as passports and proof of address in the Philippines, among others.

All data collected from the registration will be forwarded and kept by the respective PTE to a centralized database.

This centralized database will strictly serve as a register for the  processing, activation or deactivation of subscription, and shall not be used for any other purpose.

"Whatever information obtained in the registration process cannot be disclosed to any person except in compliance with any law authorizing disclosure, such as in the case of the Data Privacy Act; or in compliance with a court order or any other legal process; or with the written consent of the subscriber. No waiver of absolute confidentiality is allowed,” Poe assured.

Further, Poe said the lawmakers included an important provision which will mandate the PTEs and social media providers to keep relevant data and information for 10 years from the time the end-user deactivates his or her mobile number or social media account.

“We hope that by legislating this measure, we would be able to eradicate mobile phone, internet or electronic communication-aided criminal activities," Poe said.

"This has been a long time coming but I hope that the passage of this bill will result in a safer and more secure mobile-use and cyberspace here in our country,” she added. —NB, GMA News