Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anonymous textmate

Today, I received yet another anonymous text but instead of deleting it, this one caught my attention. The content of the text was disturbing, it was a lightly veiled extortion threat. (While I won't reveal the exact content, I assure readers of this blog which may include the texter him/herself that the imputation is baseless).

It was plainly obvious the person knows me but I don't know him/her or at least their identity. Curious, I played along asking questions and feigning ignorance, in the hope of obtaining valuable hints as to their identity. However, after a couple exchanges, the texter stopped responding and I was left wondering who would do such a thing and why.

This kind of juvenile conduct is unlikely to happen in other countries primarily because the identity of a cell phone user is readily available. You see, to subscribe to cellular service in such countries as US and Canada, whether prepaid or postpaid, requires authentication of identity. Thus, one could not subscribe to a service without presenting a valid government issued ID, often times even a credit card, and registering the number. The obvious benefit of this is that cellular subscribers cannot hide behind a curtain of anonymity. Contrast this with the current practice here in the Philippines where anyone can purchase a SIM card from a local store without ID. This laxity facilitates abuse and even malicious or worse criminal use of cell phones. Though I'm sure cellular service providers will vehemently oppose it as obtaining a SIM card will become more onerous, I do hope that our legislators will consider enacting a law to require registration of cell numbers. As for my anonymous "textmate", get a life!

Ferdinand Manebo Entry #9


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