Salceda: Ensure data privacy once SIM card registration act in place

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HOUSE Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) wants telecommunications companies to ensure that they will faithfully abide by the Data Privacy Act, as the enactment into law of the proposed SIM Card Registration Act looms. The latter is expected to be the first law signed by President Marcos.

“Once the SIM Card Registration Act is in place, the telecommunications companies will be the largest owners of comprehensive identity information in the country except the government itself. On the one hand, SIM Card Registration might deter some obvious crimes, like text spams and anonymous text messages or even threats.”

“On the other hand, the moment the databases fall into the hands of unscrupulous individuals, that could be a data privacy catastrophe.”

“So, before the IRR is issued, I hope some concerns about data privacy are first heard and addressed.”

Salceda says he wants to see key elements in the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed measure.

“First, I want strong and dynamic standards for the kind of data privacy protection mechanisms telecommunications companies will be required to take. The standards for data storage, protection, updating, and even deletion will have to be strong and evolving.”

“Second, I want the process to be easy for the user and cheap. We don’t want to deprive the poor of what has become the most essential means of communication.”

“Third, we will look for grievance mechanisms. I have already suggested a hotline that telcos will install for data privacy concerns,” Salceda added.

“Fourth, I want to see mechanisms for dealing with data privacy breaches should they happen. Who’s responsible? What should each responsible agency do? How do we prevent any further bleeding out of data once a breach is made? That should be clear.”

“And finally, I want this to make other user processes easier, like opening a bank account or accessing government services. If all SIM Cards are registered, a personal SIM would be tantamount to an identification card, or would at least have the information in the ID used for registering it. So, it should make financial inclusion easier.”

Salceda said he expects President Marcos to sign the bill “within the next two weeks.”

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