NTC wants telcos to validate all SIM cards registered
MANILA -The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) wants to validate all active SIM (subscriber identity module) cards to address concerns related to fraudulent registrations recently uncovered by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) amid the continued proliferation of text scams.
The regulator told the Inquirer it was targeting to issue the “memorandum order on postregistration validation guidelines/mechanisms by Friday next week.”
A technical working group meeting was conducted on Thursday, Sept. 7, to iron out the implementing rules and regulations for the post-verification of SIM cards.
It was attended by all telcos, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the NBI, the Department of Justice and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center, among others.
The need for checking the authenticity of the process arose after the NBI revealed during a Senate hearing this week that they were able to use a fake ID bearing the photo of a smiling monkey for registering in the Globe portal.
Text scams continued even after the July 25 deadline set under the law that required users to register their SIM cards.
According to the SIM Registration Act, individuals guilty of registering using fictitious or fraudulent IDs can be penalized with imprisonment of six months to two years or a fine of P100,000 to P300,000, or both.
“Moving forward, we are optimistic that with the recent postvalidation 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,” Globe Group general counsel Froilan Castelo said in a statement the other day.
However, Froilan reiterated their ID validation capability was 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,” he explained.
As such, Globe renewed calls to ramp up the rollout of national IDs to replace various types of government-issued IDs that could be “tampered with or compromised.”
Smart Communications Inc. vice president and head of regulatory affairs Roy Ibay, in a separate statement, assured users the telco giant uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to verify information and data submitted to its portal.
“Through this technology, information and data in government-issued IDs submitted by customers like name and date of birth are automatically transcribed in the SIM registration form. The same OCR technology is being employed to capture and validate selfies using facial recognition,” Ibay said.
Infrawatch PH convener Terry Ridon told the Inquirer telcos must act quickly to resolve the matter.
“Immediately disabling fraudulent SIMs is time-sensitive because various text-based scams are perpetrated every day,” he said. INQ
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