Philippines seeks phone card listing after bombing

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 27 2011 01:58 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2011 09:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines on Thursday called for mandatory registration of mobile telephone SIM card buyers after a remotely-detonated bomb killed 5 people in Manila.

The move would compel buyers of prepaid SIM cards -- by far the most common type in the Philippines -- to give their personal information to telecommunications providers.

A previous such measure was blocked by courts on privacy grounds but the government hoped the attack would convince parliament to pass the law, said National Telecommunications Commission official Edgardo Cabarios.

"It would be a deterrent because people with bad intentions are (now) able to hide under the cloak of anonymity," said Cabarios, director of the commission's common carriers authorisation department.

He told AFP that after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States most countries began requiring obligatory registration of prepaid SIM cards.

"They became aware that this technology could be used to commit terrorist acts," he said.

Manila police said unknown suspects set off the bomb remotely using a mobile phone with a SIM card that could be bought over the counter.

Some 85 million SIM cards had been sold in the Philippines, nearly one for each Filipino, and most changed hands without any questions asked, Cabarios said.