Mobile leader Globe welcomed the release of new guidelines by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to improve the ID verification in the SIM registration process.

As customer protection remains its top priority, Globe asserts that the effective implementation of the SIM Registration Act requires close collaboration and consultation among key industry stakeholders, regulators and law enforcement agencies.

At the recent Senate hearing, a concern was raised with regard to the acceptance of an animal photo in lieu of a real person’s ID. This placed the quality of verification in the SIM registration process into question.

Even as Globe has fully complied with the requirements of the SIM Registration Act resulting in the registration of 54M SIMs, there remain areas of improvement to help avert online fraud and scams.

The first is having a proper identification system for all citizens such as the national ID. This is needed to avoid using various types of government-issued IDs that may be tampered with or compromised. This is an important area that must be pursued vigorously. We renew our call for consultations with the government on improvements in the rollout of the National ID, and law enforcement.

Second, recent guidelines released by the NTC to verify the identity of SIM owners is a welcome initiative. Even as Globe will comply with the guidelines, fresh investments must be made to deploy a more sophisticated identification solution. Looking at various technical solutions will take time to ensure we implement a solution that truly addresses the unique and complex requirements of the SIM Registration law.

Third, the implementation of the SIM Registration Act is only the first step towards deterring online fraud and scams. Effective law enforcement and intelligence that can keep up with tech-based criminal activities must also be in place if we are to achieve a scam-free Philippines. Another issue is citizens sell their registered SIMs and act as mules.

“When SIM registration was implemented last year, telcos only had 15 days to design its SIM registration platform following the release of the IRR. Our capability for ID validation is also 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,” said Atty. Froilan Castelo, General Counsel of the Globe Group.

“We are currently working with the government to enhance our SIM registration platform, and we hope to get access to data with which we can verify documents submissions, including photo IDs,” added Castelo.

“Moving forward, we are optimistic that with the recent post-validation 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,” Castelo said.

Globe called on SIM users to submit only verified information and IDs in registering their SIMs as fraudulent submissions are penalized under the SIM Registration Act. Individuals who provide false information or fake IDs may face prison time of six months to 2 years, and a P300,000 fine. (PR)