Palace to study SIM card registration

By: TJ Burgonio, July 31st, 2013 03:46 AM

Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte: Fresh proposal needs thorough study. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang will study a fresh proposal to register SIM cards in the wake of the bombing in Cagayan de Oro City last Friday even though it had been opposed before by President Aquino for being potentially unconstitutional, Malacañang said Tuesday.

“The last time that this was discussed, the President raised some possible constitutional issues, mainly the right to privacy. In other countries, especially in the United States, that was done after 9/11,” presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told a press briefing.

Senators Vicente Sotto III and Teofisto Guingona III presented the proposal at the Senate last Monday, arguing that registering the SIM cards of mobile phones would help the authorities track down the people who detonate bombs with the use of cellular phones.

Guingona noted that mobile phones had been used a number of times in the commission of crimes.

Investigators are now piecing together evidence gathered from a restaurant that was rocked by a bomb blast that killed at least eight people and injured many others.

Most of the casualties were celebrating at the Kyla’s Bistro in the popular Rosario Arcade when the bomb, reportedly placed in a bag that was left on a chair, went off. Six were killed instantly, while 48 others were rushed to the hospital with various injuries.

However, the fresh proposal needs to be thoroughly studied by the executive department, Valte said.

“We need to see the parameters of the current proposal, how it is to be managed because in some jurisdictions the government agency is not in possession of the information. For example, here in the Philippines, if you’re a postpaid subscriber, the telcos have the information and there is a privacy policy that must be followed,” she said.

Any national security concerns should be balanced with the right to privacy, she said.

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