It is understandable why some people would resist the proposed SIM Card Registration measure, which would expose those using the social media to bombard and harass those posting views opposite theirs. The trolls, who perpetrate fake news and who bully children for their own purposes, will no longer be able to hide under fictitious names in their social media accounts.
THE requirement to use one’s real name (not an alias or fictitious name) and one’s mobile number in registering for social media account is not “a mere rider provision” but has been introduced during the period of amendments.
Thus, defended Senator Franklin Drilon of the SIM Card Registration bill, which critics said has been “inserted during the bicameral deliberations” and could thus be considered as “out of topic order or a mere rider provision.”
Drilon asserted that it is time to address hazardous anonymity in social media which gave rise to the “proliferation of troll accounts and fake news.”
He asserted that “it’s not a bicam insertion. We studied it and introduced it in the plenary as part of our humble contribution in the fight against trolls and fake news.”
Drilon said that 22 senators “voted in favor of the measure on third reading last December.”
Drilon declared: “the provision is meant to curb the proliferation of fake and troll accounts on various social media platforms,” stressing “it is not an out of topic provision. It is not a rider provision that those against the measure can cite to challenge the legality of the measure,”.
Drilon clarified that the title of the bill clearly mandates the registration of SIM cards for electronic devices and social media accounts to “eradicate mobile phone, internet or electronic communication-aided criminal activities.”
He recalled that the Senate-House conference committee deliberations that wrote its final version later adopted his provision, adding that the bill is “now up for approval by the President.”
Drilon, in authoring the anti-troll provision, stressed the remedial legislation is needed as it is “about time to address the anonymity in the Internet and the social media that allowed an environment for troll accounts and fake news.”
“It is about time that social media companies and social media users operate in the daylight,” warning that “this anonymity in the social media allows the use of fictitious names which trolls use to propagate fake news and attack anyone endlessly and mercilessly,” Drilon stressed.
Create a safe social media environment
He added that the provision was projected to “create a safe environment for social media users, especially children who are also victims of online bullying and harassment on various social media platforms.”
He suggested: “Look at your friends or relatives, maybe a co-worker or classmates, who are victims of trolling and fake accounts,” stressing that “this provision is for them, because trolling, online harassment and fake news happen because the environment today allows it.”
Drilon reminded that “online bullies hide behind anonymity” and that trolls “thrive in anonymity. Ask the parents of the kids bullied online before you oppose the measure. All we want here is to address the anonymity in the Internet and social media and make a safe cyberspace for our people.”
He disputed the privacy concerns raised against the proposal, assuring that the “duties and responsibilities to protect the privacy of SIM card holders are clearly laid out in the bill,” invoking Section 9 of the bill that provides the confidentiality clause which mandates that “any information obtained in the registration process described under this Act cannot be disclosed to any person.”
Drilon said the disclosure might only be done in compliance with any law obligating the social media provider to disclose such information in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 in compliance with a court order, legal process, or other government regulatory, or enforceable administrative request for information; in compliance with Section 10 of the bill; or with the written consent of the subscriber.
He added that Section 10 provides for the disclose wherein the public telecommunications entities (PTE) and social media providers, upon order of a competent authority, duly authorized under existing laws to issue subpoena, shall be required to provide information obtained in the registration process pursuant to an investigation of a complainant’s verified sworn complaint that a specific mobile number or social media account was or is being used in the commission of a crime or that it was utilized as a means to commit a malicious, fraudulent or unlawful act including libel, anonymous online defamation, hate speech, trolling, or spread of digital disinformation, or fake news; and that he or she is unable to ascertain the identity of the perpetrator.
Drilon noted that no PTE or social media provider shall be held administratively, civilly, or criminally liable on account of any disclosure done in compliance with this Act, adding that the relevant data and information shall be kept by the PTEs or social media providers for 10 years from the time the end-user deactivates the mobile number or social media account, he added.
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