Sim Card Registration Vetoed,
Resisting the early steps of an Orwellian Society

A TL;DR of the Bill

“The President has decided to veto the consolidated Senate Bill No. 2395/House Bill No. 5793, which seeks to mandate the registration of all SIM cards and social media accounts, with the purpose of deterring electronic communication-aided crimes,” Acting Presidential Spokesman and Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement on Friday, April 15.

While the said bill has been vetoed, some lawmakers are trying to make it realized with a modified version. A version where there will be safeguards that hope to ensure the privacy of its citizens. A very hard sell in a society where the importance of privacy is gaining traction but its very essence is not being practiced. Most of the apps being used today require users to put in personal information and most websites have cookies or trackers even though they are not registered.

The main reason for this bill is to prevent users from being scammed on social media. In 2021 alone, Consumers lost $770 million in social media scams (reference)

“70% of reported social media losses came from investment scams, romance scams, and online shopping fraud in 2021. ” In short, most people are being scammed because they want something that they may never have.

In George Orwell’s book, 1984. Its society is being monitored 24 hours a day, the power of propaganda has taken effect and the state has the final say on the fate of its own people. If you think that we are still far from having such a society, then look at the other parts of the world where after surveillance, censorship laws will start to kick in, and it all starts from registering your phone number. If lawmakers do review the bill, certain provisions which will protect data privacy and individual rights should take place. With proper and simplified education about online scam prevention and data privacy, the number of victims online may begin to fall.

These thoughts are from the perspective of a user experience guy, where learning experience and how information is being absorbed is our priority in designing things. Things that people use in their daily lives and if we want to teach people the consequences of surveillance, we need to design learning materials that are easier to understand even for a 5-year-old.

– D