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Judge blocks Mexico’s biometric cell phone registry requirement

Move may delay deployment of new system

smartphone biometric identity and document verification

A planned biometric registry of mobile phone users in Mexico has been partially blocked by a judge, who says it would not “positively influence” public security, according to Reuters.

The law backing a proposed biometric register was approved recently by the Senate as a way to reduce extortion, kidnapping and other crimes.

Judge Juan Pablo Gomez Fierro’s provisional suspension particularly refers to a section of a federal telecommunications law that would see customers’ lines canceled if they refused to submit their data to be included in the new biometric register. A permanent suspension may follow.

The proposal behind the new system aims to reduce crime by creating a biometric register that would allow law enforcement to trace cellular communications made during crimes back to the individual the device is registered to.

The system would collect fingerprints or iris biometrics from customers, together with their name, nationality, phone number, home address, and unique Population Registration Key (CURP) number.

The data would then be transferred to the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), and would be available to law enforcement.

However, the new law has been met with vocal opposition among legislators, with some of them claiming it would present severe privacy concerns.

It has also been argued how the register could be used by criminals to blame their illegal actions on innocent citizens.

The proposal was officially approved on March 25th with eight votes in favor and six against, but the move from Gomez Fierro could delay the deployment of the new biometric cell phone register.

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