Philippines lawmakers approved a key provision in the proposed Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act mandating that social media accounts are created using a legal name and phone number, according to a statement made by a senator Thursday.
The legislation aims to eliminate illegal activities enabled by mobile phones, the internet, or other electronic communication devices, such as terrorism, SMS scams, unsolicited indecent or obscene communications, bank fraud, and misinformative content.
Senate Bill (SB) 2395, or the proposed SIM Card Registration Act, was unanimously approved by the Senate on December 16, 2021, on its third and final reading. In a country with a history of online trolling, disinformation, and the use of anonymous social media accounts, the act was an attempt by the legislature to mandate users to divulge facts that would allow them to be tracked.
The legislation will mandate public telecommunication organizations (PTEs) to require the registration of SIM cards prior to sale and activation to limit the spread of crimes enabled by SIM cards and other forms of electronic communication.
Fines or imprisonment are proposed for failing to comply with mandatory registration, breach of confidentiality, use of fictitious identities, spoofing, and unauthorized sale of SIM cards under the proposed legislation. In order to become a law, the bill must be signed by President Duterte.