The end of spam? Senate bill seen beginning

SEN. Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva asked Congress to pass enabling legislation to finally put an end to spam and call spam that proliferates and victimizes many people due to the lack of enabling legislation that will protect telephone and mobile subscribers. mobile against so-called electronic scams and threats.

Villanueva said Senate Bill (SB) 366, once passed, will act as a deterrent against the misuse and misuse of digital technology. He noted that the advent of new information technologies is accompanied by the evolution of phishing attacks on several platforms such as short message services, emails and calls.

Recently, many citizens have complained about receiving scam text messages offering fake jobs promising high salaries and other valuable products at seemingly discounted prices. This is a scheme now called “smishing”, a form of text message phishing that tricks consumers into disclosing personal or financial information.

With an unemployment rate in May 2022 reaching 6% (equivalent to 2.93 million Filipinos) and an underemployment rate of 14.5% (equivalent to 6.67 million Filipinos), Villanueva said this program would have already misled and will continue to mislead recipients if not addressed. by the Philippine government.

Under this bill, “spam” is defined as a call or text message that may fall into one or more of the following categories: those containing commercial promotions or advertisements that are not initiated by the recipient, and the recipient has not opted in to receive; those that cause programs to be installed on the subscriber’s device without the subscriber’s consent; and those that contain false or misleading electronic representations redirecting to websites, chat platforms and similar online platforms.

“Spam” is also defined as a message or call that triggers the collection of personal information by illegally accessing an electronic device.

To enhance the privacy of individual subscribers, the bill automatically disables all telephone and mobile subscribers from unwanted calls or messages, and allows the subscriber to provide prior consent before any commercial or promotional advertising is can be sent to these subscribers.

Under the proposed law, mobile network service providers are also mandated to provide user-friendly reporting mechanisms to their subscribers and act immediately on complaints, after due investigation, to prevent further calls and texts. unsolicited from this mobile number.

The bill also establishes a prima facie presumption of a breach of its provisions if the subscriber has opted out of receiving calls or text messages, or where the subscriber has refused to consent to the continued call or SMS but still receives these messages. , or when the unsolicited call or text falls into the second through fourth categories of spam, as set out in the bill.

To ensure that its provisions will be implemented effectively, the bill directs the National Privacy Commission, the National Telecommunications Commission and the National Bureau of Investigation, in coordination with relevant stakeholders, to improve and develop technical and industrial efforts to protect data confidentiality. citizens.

Norman D. Briggs