Zarate: SIM card registration bill would give government ‘Big Brother’ powers


Posted at Apr 16 2022 03:07 PM

MANILA – Two lawmakers have welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's rejection of the SIM Card Registration Bill, which was supposed to deter cybercrimes and troll farms. 

Social media providers would be required to register their users under the law, but this was "not part of the original version of the bill and needs a more thorough study," a reason why Duterte did not sign the measure, Malacañang earlier said. 

House Deputy Minority leader Carlos Isagani Zarate said the proposed law contradicted Filipinos' right to privacy and free speech. He was among those who voted against it in the lower chamber.

"We already pointed out that it would give government easy access to the people's SIM card and acquire all the data on the subscriber that the telecommunications company may give," Zarate said in a statement.

"Hindi rin nakakatulong ang malaking posibilidad na dahil sa mandatory SIM registration ay parang magiging Big Brother ang gobyerno dahil may posbilidad na pwede nitong matukoy at mabasa ang lahat ng mga text messages at tawag mula sa mga cellphones."

Senator Panfilo Lacson also agreed with Duterte's veto, but pushed for his own version of the proposed law. 

Lacson said the vetoed Sim Card Registration Bill could infringe on a person's constitutional right. 

"Mandating social media registration could be violative of the 'one subject one title rule' as defined under the 1987 Constitution, not to mention the absence of safeguards or guidelines in the said provision not even covered by the title of the measure itself," Lacson said in a statement.

Internet freedom advocates earlier sounded the alarm on mandatory SIM card registration, as this could possibly lead to a rise in crimes

Extortions and even kidnappings increased after SIM card registration, a member of had said. 


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