Scammers cannot hide in eSIM as Gatchalian seeks its inclusion in SIM card registration bill

Scammers cannot hide in eSIM as Gatchalian seeks its inclusion in SIM card registration bill

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — In a bid to thwart cybercriminals using the latest gadgets and find new ways to steal money by accessing bank details through mobile phones, Senator Win Gatchalian said he will pursue the inclusion of a digital subscriber identity module (SIM) in the proposed SIM Card Registration Act.

“We have to keep up with the latest trends in technology and one of which is the emergence of eSIM, a digital SIM card that works the same way as a traditional or physical SIM card,” Gatchalian, co-author of Senate Bill No. 2395, said.

“Mabilis mag-upgrade ang mga mobile devices at habang nagiging mas moderno ang mga ganitong instrumento ng mga scammers, nagiging mas malikhain din sila sa pagsasagawa ng mga modus nila. Kaya dapat isaalang-alang nating maisama ito sa panukalang batas na pagpaparehistro ng SIM cards,” he added.

An eSIM or embedded subscriber identity module is a digital SIM embedded directly into a device such as smartphones, tablets and laptops and can connect the user to any operator or network provider.

The eSIM is not yet included in the Senate version of the proposed SIM card registration bill as the measure covers only the traditional SIM card or the chip that is physically installed or removed inside the mobile phones, the senator noted.

In the said bill, telecommunications companies shall require the registration of SIM cards as prerequisite to its sale. This is aimed at deterring the proliferation of SIM card-aided crimes such as terrorism, text scams, unsolicited or obscene messages, bank fraud and massive disinformation which can cause chaos and disorder, Gatchalian said.

Under the bill, existing SIM card subscribers with active services shall register with their respective Public Telecommunications Entities (PTEs) within a year from effectivity of this Act and failure to register within the prescribed period shall authorize the PTEs to automatically deactivate or retire the SIM card number.

“Napakabilis magbago ng technology. We can include the eSIM for registration para walang kawala ang mga kawatan na nanloloko ng mga kababayan natin. Whether it’s physical or electronic SIM, dapat i-register,” Gatchalian said.

The senator is hoping to have the Senate pass its version on third reading by next year and have it reconciled with the House of Representatives’ version before the end of the current 18th Congress to have it enforceable next year. (ai/mtvn)

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