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House bill requiring prepaid SIM card registration passes 2nd reading

MANILA, Apr 2 (Mabuhay) –All Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card users may soon be required to register in a bid to track down individuals who use mobile phones to perform criminal activities.

The House of Representatives has recently approved on second reading House Bill 7233, or the proposed “SIM Card Registration Act,” which seeks to require the registration of all users of SIM cards.

Under the bill, public telecommunication entities (PTE), or those who are engaged in providing telecommunications services to the public, or the direct seller will require the end-user of a SIM card to present valid identification with photo to validate the person’s identity.

The PTE or direct seller will also require the SIM card end-user to fill out and sign a controlled-number registration form.

All direct sellers will be mandated to provide in the SIM card registration form the full name, date of birth, gender and address of the end-user which appears in a valid government-issued identification document with photo.

Meanwhile, foreign nationals who own a SIM card will be required to register their full name, passport number and address in the registration form.

All PTEs will be required to submit to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) a verified list of their current authorized dealers or agents nationwide within 30 days after the law has been enacted.

No information in the SIM card is allowed to be disclosed unless access to information has been granted by the subscriber upon written consent, or upon a duly-issued subpoena or order of a court upon finding probable cause, or upon written request from a law enforcement agency in relation to an ongoing investigation that the SIM card may have been used to commit a crime.

The PTEs will be required to maintain a SIM card registry and submit the same to the DICT every six months and keep the subscribers’ data.

The failure of a pre-paid subscriber to register their SIM cards within the prescribed period will be enough grounds for the PTE to automatically deactivate its services to the subscriber.

If the offense is committed by a PTE, the president and other executive officers will be held liable and will be slapped with a fine of P300,000 for the first offense, P500,000 for the second offense, and P1 million for the third and subsequent offenses.

If the offense is committed by a direct seller, the penalty of suspension of its operation and a fine of P5,000 to P50,000 will be imposed.

If the offense is committee by an officer or employee of an implementing agency under the law, a penalty of suspension or dismissal from service and a fine to be determined by the court will be imposed. (MNS)

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