Saturday, January 29, 2011

Will SIM card registration help curb terrorism? By Janie Octia, Yahoo! Southeast Asia

By Janie Octia, Yahoo! Southeast Asia
The January 25 bus blast that left five people dead prompted some lawmakers to revive calls for a mandatory SIM card registration nationwide. According to initial investigations, a mobile phone was used to detonate the bomb inside the passenger bus.
Congressmen Rufus and Maximo Rodriguez filed a bill to regulate the distribution and sale of SIM cards, while Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III called on the telecom companies to register SIM cards.
The proposal drew mixed reactions from the Yahoo! Philippines Answers community, considering the number of existing mobile phone subscribers in the country as well as overseas Filipinos who are also maintaining local SIM cards.
User Nier feels that registering a SIM card will not stop people from carrying out a crime and that lawmakers should focus more on improving the government’s law enforcement capability.
Jess B., who is also against the proposal, argued that this could lead to more cases of mobile phone theft.
“What if it’s your cellphone that has been stolen and was used for criminal activity? Can you imagine the problems you will be facing? You will now be the prime suspect and will have a hard time explaining to these idiots that it’s not you who did it,” added Jess B.
Users Nove and JuST also believed that criminals will be wise enough not to use their own mobile phones for criminal activities.
Meanwhile, users like John Mark and professor love believe that SIM cards should be registered.  ”I’d trade in my privacy for national security and peace,” explained professor love.
Another user, Lyniel Dylandy, thought that SIM card registration should have been implemented right from the start. “Right now, you can actually deceive anyone by using a SIM that you just bought on that day, and throw it on the next,” Lyniel Dylandy said.
A number of users also compared the rule that other countries follow when it comes to purchasing a SIM card.
“Here in Doha, you will not be able to buy sim card, apply for a phone line, apply for electricity, etc without Qatar ID/passport copy,” shared user Ced.
Eric Panis from UAE, Arbz of Australia and Ferdinand from New Zealand also agreed to the proposal. They revealed that SIM card registration was mandatory in their respective countries.
While some users thought of the effects of the proposal on crime prevention, others expressed different concerns.
“It is also a security measure. It prevents others from harassing us with text messages from numbers that we do not know,” user june08 said.
Ailene added that it’s time for a change, but she seemed more concerned with something else. “Please don’t include corruption in this project,” she pleaded.
If you’re a mobile phone owner, would you be willing to register your SIM? Do you have other suggestions on how the government could address this issue?
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