Senator Grace Poe, a key figure behind the Philippines’ Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Law, has called for the implementation of facial recognition technology in SIM card registration after a startling revelation. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) disclosed that it successfully registered a SIM card using a fake health card featuring an image of a monkey instead of a human.
The discovery came to light during a Senate committee hearing, sparking concerns about the effectiveness of the current SIM registration system.
The SIM Registration Law, Republic Act 11934, was introduced to ensure the registration of all SIM users and prevent text scams, providing a six-month registration period for SIM owners, which was later extended. Despite its implementation, text scams have continued to proliferate, with cybercrimes involving SIM cards rising by 190 percent in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year, according to the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group.
During the hearing, Chief Attorney Jeremy Lotoc of the NBI’s Cybercrime Division demonstrated how easily fake government IDs, featuring even animal images, were accepted by the SIM registration system. This alarming revelation led Senator Poe to demand revisions to the law’s implementing rules and regulations, including the incorporation of facial recognition technology.
Interest in biometric solutions has been relatively strong in the Philippines. For years, authorities have been working to collect citizens’ biometric data for use in a national ID program called the “Philippine Identification System”, an effort that the current President, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has reportedly pushed to accelerate.
September 11, 2023 – by the FindBiometrics Editorial Team