Ex-official urges gov’t to keep pace with cyber criminals

Despite laws in place to protect consumers from fraudulent acts involving text messages, many scammers still manage to outwit authorities by upgrading the way they victimize people using technology.

Thus, former National Privacy Commission chairman Raymund Liboro said the government needs to similarly utilize technology and give more teeth to enforcement agencies to effectively go after fraudsters.

“The laws are in place that prescribe a body like a cybercrime investigation coordinating center to be able to precisely track down criminal elements, especially now that almost everything is digital,” Liboro said in an interview at Straight Talk on Tuesday, an online show of the Daily Tribune.

“To further coordinate, this enforcement center or agency needs to also equip its people with better knowledge. We should always attract more talent because now the demand for IT is so great but the government is now losing them to private sectors due to salary issues,” he added.

For Liboro, it is “very crucial” for the government to also invest in digital infrastructure that would help them easily go after these scammers through a stronger secured database.

Liboro pointed out that as criminals get smarter each day, the government should keep pace.

He said authorities should also create a trusted environment by ensuring that the newly enacted SIM Card Law will be effectively implemented so that people can be really protected.

“The fraud associated with SMS has been there since the invention of SMS but you see we can do something about that, especially now that we are armed with a new law to protect our people. We just need to be proactive in addressing the issue,” he said.

Last month, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the SIM Card Registration Act amid the proliferation of text spam. It was the first law signed by Marcos since he assumed his position as the country’s chief executive.

The Philippines’ SIM Registration Act is envisioned to address escalating cybercrime in the country, including the proliferation of smishing and other forms of scam and spam messaging.

From January to September this year, Ayala-backed Globe Telecom Inc. said it has deactivated 16,215 mobile numbers and blacklisted 19,343 more for involvement in scams and spam messages. It also blocked a total of 1.3 billion spam and scam messages within the same period Mobile phone subscribers should present a valid government-issued identification card with a photo during SIM card registration.

A SIM card may be registered for use by a minor but should be under the name of a parent or a guardian.

Since the registration will be at the point of sale, a SIM card will not be sold to a user who refuses to provide the required personal information.

Meanwhile, existing postpaid and prepaid mobile phone subscribers will have to register their SIM cards within six months to avoid deactivation. Unregistered SIMs will be automatically deactivated.

Foreigners and tourists, on the other hand, should present a passport and provide a local address.

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