Live selfies now required to prevent 'monkey' SIM registrations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is implementing stricter guidelines for subscriber identity module (SIM) registrants to prevent the use of photos of animals and cartoon characters.

Requirements for SIM registration now include "facial liveliness, live selfie, optical character recognition, and facial recognition," Makati 2nd District Rep. Luis Campos said Friday during deliberations on the 2024 budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which he is sponsoring.

The NTC is an attached agency of the DICT.

"We acknowledge the glitches from the past," the lawmaker added.

Campos was responding to concerns raised by Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raouel Manuel over the NTC's weak verification process for SIM registrants.

"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," Manuel said.

[Translation: There were observations that even if the ID or pictures used were of animals or cartoon characters, they still pass the verification process of the SIM card registration.]

"Ano ba talaga ang mga plano natin given nga na hindi naman talaga ganoon ka-epektibo ang SIM card registration?" he added.

[Translation: What are our plans really given that SIM card registration is not really that effective?]

During a Senate hearing in September, the National Bureau of Investigation said they tried and were able to register a SIM using a photo of a monkey.

Manuel also asked how the DICT can assure the public that the information they will give to telecommunications companies will not be compromised.

Campos said the SIM registration law only mandates certain types of information to be given to telcos.

"Kailangan nating amiendahan ang [We need to amend the] SIM card law in order to ask or require additional personal information," he noted.

READ: Gov't extends SIM registration for 90 days