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Group: Selfie verification in SIM registration violates users' privacy


A group expressed concerns about users' privacy with the inclusion of a selfie verification in the SIM registration process.
File photo: SIM card

Selfie requirement in SIM registration

In a statement, Digital Pinoys National Campaigner Ronald Gustilo pointed out that selfie verification is not included in the SIM Registration Act and its implementing rules and regulations.

The registration requirements under the SIM registration Law and its implementing rules and regulations is clear. And it does not include selfie verification. The abrupt inclusion of this intrusive requirement violates the privacy of the registrant and it led to the glitches that subscribers experienced, he said.

Under the law's IRR, subscribers are required to submit their full name, date of birth, sex, address, and ID to their respective service providers to register their SIM.

The IRR also enjoins telcos to "include processes to verify the submitted information and data, subject to the applicable provisions of the Data Privacy Act, its IRR, and other relevant issuances of the National Privacy Commission." 

On the first day of registration on Tuesday, Globe and Smart experienced issues with the server.

Globe specifically said they had to take down their site to add the selfie requirement as required by the government, according to a report by Rappler.

From early morning until late night, many people were unable to register their SIMs. The access to the registration portals were always down. And this happened because of the short period between the implementation and the release of the IRR, Gustilo said.

When you suddenly order telcos to suddenly add requirement in the registration process a day before the implementation, it's like shooting yourself in the foot, he added.

Gustilo urged the government to help the companies in dealing with the surge in registration by immediately setting up registration sites. This will be greatly helpful specifically for areas with no access to the internet and for those who do not have a smartphone.

The government should be responsible in ensuring that all subscribers will be registered and no one will be left behind. Not for any reason. No individual should lose their right to communicate digitally just because of this law, he said.

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