The “anti-troll” bill, aimed at catching online trolls and stopping mobile phone-based crimes, just needs the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte to become law. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the SIM Card Registration Act.
Should it be signed into law, it will require social media networks-such as Facebook and Twitter-to get the real name and phone number of users creating an account on the platforms.
A fine of up to P20,000 and/or imprisonment of at least six years is the penalty attached to the proposed measure. It will be imposed on anyone who uses a fake identity to sign up for a social media account or buy and register a SIM card.
Public services committee chair Sen. Grace Poe released a statement that emphasized what she finds to be the bill’s most important provision: “To mandate all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) to require the registration of SIM cards as a prerequisite to their sale and activation.”
SIM card subscribers with active services will have 180 days from the effectivity date of the law to register their account. If that does not happen, the SIM will be deactivated.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon was particular about the provision involving the real names of users to strengthen the fight against cyberlibel and online trolls.
“Our amendment will provide citizens, especially the victims of fake news, online harassment and cyberlibel,” Drilon said, “legal recourse and protection against those who hide behind anonymity and fictitious names.”
Another key provision, Poe stated, was the requirement put on telecommunication and social media companies “to keep relevant data and information for 10 years from the time the end-user deactivates his or her mobile number or social media account.”