Telecom firm wants access to country’s ID database

TO HELP validate the information provided by its subscribers, Globe Group president and chief executive officer Ernest Cu said they want access to the country’s ID database.

“The best help the government could give is to provide us access to some of the relevant ID database the country has… We all know the proliferation of fake IDs in the country be it a driver’s license, a passport, and of course the limited availability of the national ID, but when this ID becomes readily available, we would like to have access to validate the registration that our subscribers have performed in our system. In that way, we can truly say that the person who registered is indeed the true person. In that case, we need to refer to that database in case of any situation for fraud, scams, or crime, we have confidence that the ID provided is indeed the real ID,” said Cu, when asked what help the government could provide to ensure successful SIM registration.

Cu, in a recent virtual press conference, said they have already raised this appeal to the Private Sector Advisory Council, a business-led advisory group that regularly meets with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The Globe executive said up to this day, while the SIM registration is ongoing, there is no way for them (telecom companies) to validate the IDs used by subscribers.

He said having access to the database will greatly aid in the minimization of online fraud in the Philippines.

50K SIMs linked to fraud

Globe deactivated and blacklisted more than 50,000 SIMs last year as it continued to intensify consumer protection initiatives amid the rising cases of online fraud.

It deactivated 20,225 SIMs and blacklisted 35,333 SIMs involved in scam and spam messages in 2022 alone as part of its campaign for internet safety.

This was on top of the record 2.72 billion scam and spam messages it blocked last year, 83.4 million of which were bank-related.

“All these efforts have been on-going to protect customers from harmful content and fraud before the enactment of the SIM Registration Act,” the Ayala-backed digital solutions platform said.

“Globe recognizes the growing threat posed by scammers, who use various tactics, including text messages, to deceive innocent victims into giving up personal information that could be used to compromise their financial accounts. We will continue to invest in our cybersecurity program to protect our customers from these unscrupulous individuals,” said Anton Bonifacio, Globe chief information security officer.

Under its filtering protocol, Globe said it deactivates SIMs within its network once detected to have been involved in fraud. Meanwhile, SIMs outside of the Globe network are blacklisted to prevent them from sending to Globe.

SIM registration

As of Feb. 13, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. total SIM registered already stood at 32,368,752, according to the National Telecommunications Commission’s website.

Of the total, 13,257,704 were Globe SIMs; 16,634,042 were Smart SIMs; and 2,477,006 were Dito SIMs.

Existing mobile subscribers have until April 26, 2023, to register their SIM cards to avoid deactivation.

Individual users must provide their full name, date of birth, gender, address, and valid government picture ID or similar documents.

Valid IDs include passport, Philippine Identification Card, Social Security System ID, driver’s license, police clearance, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, voter’s ID, and senior citizen’s card.

Business users, on the other hand, must provide their business name, business address, and the full name of an authorized signatory.