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Mexico data protection body to challenge biometric data registry at Supreme court

2021-04-28
IMG

A new controversial law, states the telecom companies in Mexico to gather user biometric data, it states to aim at reducing crimes like kidnapping and extortion, as criminals would find it difficult to stay anonymous when purchasing new mobile phones.

The country’s data protection body plans to challenge the decision, stating before the Supreme Court that it violates privacy rights.

The action will be brought by the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI).

Adrian Alcala, an INAI commissioner, stated that it is correct that the state is responsible for ensuring the safety of the inhabitants, but they cannot make this as a base to provide reason to restrict freedoms and human rights.

The law would provide companies like America Movil and AT&T to collect fingerprint or eye data from customers for inclusion in a database managed by Mexico's telecommunications regulator. 

Last week, a Mexican judge stopped part of the law from taking effect, saying it would put customers at risk if they refuse to share personal data because their phone lines would be cancelled. The parts of the law stipulating the creation of the registry remain in effect.

As per the global telecoms industry lobby GSMA, globally 155 countries have cell phone user registries, but only 8% require biometric data.

Many of those countries which do retain biometric data have questionable records on human rights, including China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. No Western countries collect biometric data from cellphone users.

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