‘Hands off our cell phones,’ consumer group tells Arroyo

Here’s an old issue being revived. Apparently, one government official is proposing an all-out-war on cellphone thieves. The plan: ask everyone to register their SIM cards and cellphones. Yes that’s good. But one consumer group doubts government’s motive. Excerpt:

A local consumer group rejected President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s plan to require mandatory registration of handsets and SIM cards as a way to curb mobile phone theft in the country.

A SIM or subscriber identity module is a smart card used to store data identifying a mobile phone service subscriber.

Calling the move “ineffective” and “dangerous to civil liberties,” TXTPower warned the proposed Cellphone Registration System (CRS) is government’s way to “undertake surveillance on her opponents and critics.”

There were attempts in the past from the National Telecommunications Commission to require SIM registration. But telcos opposed this. This case went to the Supreme Court. So right now, the NTC is using a blacklisting system that allows people to report their stolen handsets’ IMEI (you have to know this before you can actually report it).

A Hong Kong firm also recently proposed another way, a more convincing way, to curb cellphone theft in the country. It involves subscribing to their service, however.

Published by

Erwin Oliva

Putting a dent on the universe one day at a time