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Gamers in the Philippines Unite Against the Sim Card and Social Media Registration Act

Anonymity and pseudonymity are inherent to internet users. We’ve all been taught to use pseudonyms and personal handles when using online forums and chat rooms.

If a new bill introduced by the Philippine government is passed in less than a month, it may well jeopardize this right to anonymity in the country.

According to the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act, Filipinos are required to register their SIM cards on all electronic devices and social media platforms in order to prevent illegal online activities from taking place.

The real-name policy implemented by the South Korean government in 2009, as well as the one enacted by the Chinese government in 2011, are both models for this proposal. For users from either of these countries to be able to access the internet, they must first register their IDs online.

Both of these countries made the decision to provide a safe online environment for their citizens, though this has not prevented the Chinese government, for example, from imposing stringent regulations such as three-hour time limits on online gaming for those under the age of 18 in their respective countries.

The Philippines’ SIM Card Registration Act is contentious due to the bill’s ambiguous definition of social media, its definition of what constitutes online crimes, and the draconian penalties that are imposed as a result of the law.

Many Filipino netizens have expressed concern about the bill’s security and freedom of expression because of the blanket terms and vague statements it contains, as well as the requirement that each and every user’s real name be provided online.

The advocacy group Democracy.Net.PH has published a website detailing the numerous negative consequences of this legislation, as well as an online petition for users to sign. In addition, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is urged to veto this legislation in this open letter.

Especially in the case of gamers and online content producers, anonymity and pseudonymity are important factors in keeping these individuals protected from the threat of doxxing, harassment, and cyber bullying.

Using their own gamer tags, gamers can express themselves while also keeping their real identities hidden from others.

The Filipino game Good Knight is a local favorite among the Vtuber community, which has become a popular outlet for those who wish to remain anonymous in their real-life lives. It goes without saying that Team Good Knight has been outspoken about this incident on their social media platforms.

Sign the petition here, and you can read the SIM Card Registration Act in its entirety by clicking here.

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