ONE OF the co-authors of a bill that will make subscriber identification module (SIM) card registration mandatory, which is now up for the President’s approval, said the proposed law is key to addressing scams and fraud using mobile phones.

“The authorities will finally and promptly solve the criminals behind this kind of modus operandi when SIM card registration becomes law,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said in a statement on Thursday.

Technology and science experts have flagged certain provisions of the measure as a threat to privacy. 

Mr. Gatchalian, on the other hand, said having a record of SIM card owners and penalties against those who give fake identities will deter phone-aided illegal activities.

“While our laws provide for equal access to communication, this kind of liberty may be curtailed if the use of such technology is abused and used to commit nefarious acts,” said the senator who is seeking reelection in the May polls. 

Under the proposed legislation transmitted to the President’s office, all SIM card subscribers, including those with active services, will be required to register with their respective telecommunications company within a year from the effectivity of the measure. 

Those who fail to do so will have their SIM cards automatically deactivated.

Fictitious identities will be penalized with at least six years of imprisonment or a fine of up to P200,000, or both.

The bill is also intended to curtail social media abuse by requiring users to register their identity and phone number. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan