NTC orders use of tech, live selfies to prevent 'monkey' SIM card registrations


Posted at Sep 22 2023 05:09 PM

MANILA — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has updated its guidelines to weed out falsified information in the SIM card registration, a lawmaker said on Friday. 

The new guidelines include post-registration validation and the use of technologies like live selfie, optical character recognition, and facial recognition and matching for SIM registration, said Makati Second District Rep. Luis Campos Jr. 

Campos, sponsor of the 2024 budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology and its attached agencies, issued the statement during plenary debates for the budget following the concerns raised by Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel. 

"Nandyan ang recent observations na kahit ang gamiting ID o picture doon ay mga hayop o cartoon characters ay pumapasa ito sa verification process ng SIM card registration… Ano ba talaga ang mga plano natin given nga na hindi naman talaga ganoon kaepektibo ang SIM card registration?" Manuel asked.

"We acknowledge the glitches from the past," Campos replied. 

"The NTC has already issued a memo order…guidelines [for] post validations of registration, and to adopt technology...para mabawasan ang agam-agam natin na papasa ang picture ng unggoy," he continued. 

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The NTC previously warned that individuals who entered false details during SIM registration would face penalties, including imprisonment. 

The government had said that the registration would curb text scams, as the identities of people who use SIMs for illegal activities could be traced. But according to Manuel, text scams continue even when millions have registered their SIM cards. 

The Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center, an attached agency of the DICT, previously attributed the continued text scams to the purchase of registered SIM cards by organized syndicates, as well as new machines that can simulate SIM cards. 

It urged the public to report text scams to help authorities identify the source of the message.

The House of Representatives terminated on Friday the plenary debates on DICT’s proposed 2024 budget. 

— Report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News 

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