Following the successful launch of the government’s emergency and complaints hotlines last August 1, 2016, the proposal to implement the mandatory registration of prepaid SIM cards surfaced once more. This was triggered by the influx of prank and dropped calls when the said hotlines went live for the first time. According to authorities, people will think twice before they make fun of the government’s hotlines if they know that they can be easily traced and later, penalized.
The act was initially considered as a means to prevent illegal activities and crimes with the use of a mobile phone. These include extortion, bullying, threatening, and even kidnap-for-ransom cases where kidnappers use prepaid sim cards to contact the victim’s family without being traced. With the advent of the 8888 and 911 hotlines of the current administration, it is once again seen as the fastest way to discourage prank callers from clogging the phone lines.
Let us take a closer look at the SIM Card Registration Act and how this can affect the prepaid mobile subscribers in the country:
- Mobile phone companies will collect the subscriber’s information before a SIM card sale is completed. They shall be responsible in keeping an active database of their prepaid and postpaid subscribers. This means that every time a person buys a SIM card, his personal information will be collected and he will be asked to present valid identification cards and documents.
- Existing prepaid SIM subscribers shall also be required to ‘register’ their SIM cards and present the required IDs. Their information will also be collected by the mobile company; these information will be electronically associated with the prepaid number they are currently using.
- The mobile company and the SIM card retailers are equally liable should they fail to accomplish any of the above processes. They will be fined as follows:
- Sellers – between P5,000 and P50,000 and may face suspension;
- Mobile Phone companies – P300,000 for first offense, P500,000 for second offense, and P1,000,000 for third and subsequent offenses.
As a prepaid SIM card user, do you agree that this move will help decrease the incidences of crimes with the use of mobile phones as well as the number of prank calls to the government’s emergency hotlines? Will you agree to give your personal information to SIM card sellers every time you buy a new SIM?
Your ideas and comments are welcome.