• June 13, 2024

Globe welcomed the release of new guidelines by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) aimed at enhancing ID verification in the SIM registration process.. 

The telco asserts that the effective implementation of the SIM Registration Act requires close collaboration and consultation among key industry stakeholders, regulators and law enforcement agencies.    

The validity of verification in the SIM registration process was called into question at a recent Senate hearing. It was revealed that an animal photo was accepted in lieu of a real person’s ID.

While Globe has fully complied with the requirements of the SIM Registration Act—registering 54 million SIMs in total—there are still areas to improve to prevent online fraud and scams.

One important step is implementing a single national ID system for all citizens to prevent the misuse of different government-issued IDs.

“This is an important area that must be pursued vigorously. We renew our call for consultations with the government on improvements in the rollout of the National ID, and law enforcement,” Globe said in a statement. 

Another welcome initiative, Globe said, is the recent guidelines released by the NTC to verify the identity of SIM owners. “Even as Globe will comply with the guidelines, fresh investments must be made to deploy a more sophisticated identification solution. Looking at various technical solutions will take time to ensure we implement a solution that truly addresses the unique and complex requirements of the SIM Registration law.”

Enforcing the SIM Registration Act is just the beginning in preventing online fraud. Globe reiterates the need for strong law enforcement and that can keep up with tech-based criminal activities. Additionally, there’s a problem with citizens selling their registered SIMs and acting as intermediaries.

“When SIM registration was implemented last year, telcos only had 15 days to design its SIM registration platform following the release of the IRR. Our capability for ID validation is also limited by the lack of access to a database where we may verify submissions. For facial or optical character recognition to work efficiently and accurately, there should be a database of facial biometrics and IDs that only government issuers possess,” said Atty. Froilan Castelo, General Counsel of the Globe Group. 

“We are currently working with the government to enhance our SIM registration platform, and we hope to get access to data with which we can verify documents submissions, including photo IDs,” added Castelo.   

“Moving forward, we are optimistic that with the recent post-validation guidelines from the NTC, we will be able to weed out those who submitted fake credentials to register, deactivate their SIMs, and report them to law enforcers for investigation,” he said.

Globe urged SIM users to submit only verified information and IDs in registering their SIMs as fraudulent submissions are penalized under the SIM Registration Act. Individuals who provide false information or fake IDs may face prison time of six months to 2 years, and a P300,000 fine.

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