Suspend the SIM registration, uphold Filipino peoples’ right to privacy!

The Center for Women’s Resources joins civil society, people’s organizations, and all concerned Filipino citizens in calling for the suspension of SIM registration. The first days of the implementation of SIM registration have been marred by technical challenges and threats to digital security and privacy.

Merely hours after opening the registration, mobile users complained that registration portals of major telecom networks have been inaccessible. It was also noted that the additional requirement of uploading a selfie to verify the registrant’s identity might be a privacy violation as the collection of biometric data is not required under the law nor in its implementing rules and regulations.

What is also alarming is how telecom companies are taking advantage of SIM registration to further their interests. Mobile registrants noted the notices and tick boxes on the registration form that purportedly asks for the registrant’s consent to use their personal data for marketing profiling, or sharing with third-party partners. The National Privacy Commission (NPC) ordered the telecom companies to remove this only after concerned users raised it.

Ironically, while SIM registration is aimed at addressing online fraud, mobile users reported that scammers have actually taken advantage of SIM registration. Users of a popular mobile wallet app reported that they have been receiving messages informing them that their accounts are restricted and that they need to register in the links provided, raising further concerns about phishing scams.

These technical difficulties and threats to digital security and privacy show how the government is ill-prepared to implement SIM registration. Measures to address fraudulent spam messages and targeted text scams should not put millions of Filipinos at further risk by exposing our personal data. We call on the state authorities, in particular, the National Privacy Commission to carry out its mandate and ensure people’s right to communication, privacy, and digital security.

SIM Registration, Pahirap sa Mamamayan!
Suspend the SIM Registration Law Now!
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