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Commission approves Mexico’s biometric cell phone register proposal

Ruling passed with eight votes in favor and six against

biometric fingerprint data

The Communications and Transportation Commission of the Senate of the Republic in Mexico has approved the proposal to create a National Register of Mobile Telephone Users that will collect information and biometric data from cell phone users, Latinus reports.

The proposal was approved on March 25th with the commission recording eight votes in favor and six against in an online voting session.

The voting procedure was supposed to see the participation of members of the Legislative Studies Commission, but due to connectivity issues, Senator Lucy Meza decided to proceed with the scrutiny despite their absence.

According to the new regulations, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) will now be responsible for the creation of a database containing information of all cell phone users with the goal of reducing crime levels in the country.

The decision was met with some skepticism, however, with the legislator of the National Action Party (PAN), Julen Rementería, saying during the session the new law will not reduce crime levels, instead posing a danger to privacy for many users.

“(The ruling) goes beyond boundaries related to human rights, data protection, biometric data, and frankly I think this deserves a much greater analysis, [including] a meeting with the people who provide the service,” Rementería said.

The data to be collected by the IFT to create the new register include the name, nationality, and phone number of users, as well as biometric data, home address, and unique Population Registration Key (CURP) number.

With the new law passing with such a slim margin, it is clear the registry is a controversial proposal in the country, and further scrutiny is likely to follow as the project enters its deployment stage.

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