FB pixel

Draft biometric SIM registration law in Philippines triggers privacy worries

Draft biometric SIM registration law in Philippines triggers privacy worries
 

A draft piece of regulation to render mandatory the registration of SIM cards including with biometrics in the Philippines has sparked deep concerns from the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), a trade body that groups internet service and technology companies in the region.

In a letter addressed to the government of the Philippines, the coalition argues that the Act will have grave consequences for citizens whose personal information and biometrics such as fingerprints and face biometrics will be captured.

The letter states that “Companies, third parties and the state, empowered to create individual profiles and give access to vast amounts of user data, inevitably will increase the overall chances of data breaches. This is exacerbated by moving into biometric registration with fingerprints and facial recognition.”

The signing into law of the SIM Card Registration Act by President Rodrigo Duterte is likely as a parliamentary committee agreement on differences between the House and Senate versions was recently approved by the country’s Congress. A section of the approved draft provides that telcos must first register the details of those buying SIM cards before the cards are actually sold to them, adding that information such as a person’s real name and their phone numbers must also be submitted before they sign in to any social media platform.

Per the AIC, the large amounts of data to be collected could make the data subjects vulnerable to abusive practices from the government such as tracking of vulnerable groups.

In the letter, the AIC also suggests that such a move has to be properly consulted and deliberated upon by various relevant stakeholders. In this regard, it calls on “the Government of the Philippines to review the Act, study the provisions further and conduct wider consultation with industry stakeholders — both on the provisions in the existing Act and associated implementing rules and regulations.”

The bill’s proponents say the registration mandate is necessary to curb crime committed using mobile phones.

SIM card registration, often with biometrics, is common in many countries. Consumer privacy website Comparitech reported in 2020 that the trend was on the rise, but with transparency issues around the collection, storage and management of the data captured by  governments for that purpose.

A current SIM card registration process in Ghana has also been questioned from some quarters about the security and privacy of the biometric data being captured.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News

 

The UK’s election may spell out the future of its national ID cards

Identity cards are back among the UK’s top controversial topics – thanks to the upcoming elections and its focus on…

 

Challenges in face biometrics addressed with new tech and research amid high stakes

Big biometrics contracts and deals were the theme of several of the stories on that drew the most interest from…

 

Online age verification debates continue in Canada, EU, India

Introducing age verification to protect children online remains a hot topic across the globe: Canada is debating the Online Harms…

 

Login.gov adds selfie biometrics for May pilot

America’s single-sign on system for government benefits and services, Login.gov, is getting a face biometrics option for enhanced identity verification…

 

BIPA one step closer to seeing its first major change since 2008 inception

On Thursday, a bipartisan majority in the Illinois Senate approved the first major change to Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…

 

Identity verification industry mulls solutions to flood of synthetic IDs

The advent of AI-powered generators such as OnlyFake, which creates realistic-looking photos of fake IDs for only US$15, has stirred…

Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read From This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events