Gatchalian bats for data privacy as telcos roll out Mobile Number Portability Act

Published September 29, 2021, 10:33 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday, September 29, urged telecommunication companies to ensure that mechanisms safeguarding mobile phone subscribers’ personal data are in place as they start the implementation of the Mobile Number Portability Act (MNPA) on September 30.

Gatchalian said the law seeks to ensure that cybersecurity policies are in place. The law also provides proper consumer welfare mechanisms in the course of porting activities.

The law allows subscribers to switch between telecommunications service providers without having to change their mobile numbers and pay for interconnection fees for calling or texting across different networks.

“Currently there are so many modus in online and mobile application platforms. It’s very important that as subscribers, our telcos will strictly comply with the Data Privacy Act,” said Gatchalian, author of Republic Act No. 11202 otherwise known as the Mobile Number Portability Act.

“Together with this law, telcos should make sure that unauthorized persons won’t have access to any of our personal data,” he said.

Likewise, the senator urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to oversee the proper implementation of the law. These concerned agencies must ensure the promotion of subscribers’ welfare and protect them against public exposure of mobile numbers, he said.

Learn from ‘Squid Game’

Citing the popular Netflix Korean series “Squid Game”, Gatchalian, meanwhile, warned the public against posting online phone numbers without the consent of the owner.

The lawmaker pointed out an episode in the series showed an instance where a supposed fictitious phone number used in a show turned out to be a real mobile number and the owner who has been using it for more than 10 years received a barrage of prank calls and texts from curious fans.

Gatchalian reminded that unauthorized disclosure of personal information, such as an individual’s name and phone number, is punishable under the Data Privacy Act. The senator said the public should be reminded against posting online phone numbers without the consent of the owner.

“It’s so important that this law is implemented carefully, and we are free to choose which telco service we want. Especially these days, when almost all people depend on their mobile phones for their everyday transactions,” he stressed.