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Mexico’s Supreme Court to hear case against biometric data collection requirement

digital identity biometric registration

Reuters is reporting that a new law passed in Mexico requiring telcos to collect customer biometric data is being challenged in that nation’s Supreme Court.

For the moment, enforcement has been prevented by a lower-court judge.

As of April, any company offering wireless accounts were to get fingerprint or iris scans from customers and send the biometric information to regulators.

The case opposing the collection is being brought by the federal government’s National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data.

The law was sold as a way to cut extortion, kidnapping and other major crimes plaguing Mexico by identifying people using new phones to threaten victims. Criminals cannot be anonymous if police can quickly identify who owns a phone used in crimes.

As important as fighting kidnapping and such is, according to the national institute, it does not justify forcing consumers to give up their privacy to the government, according to Reuters.

A week ago, a Mexican judge halted the government from acting on the law because anyone refusing to submit data would lose phone access. Left in force is the requirement that the federal government create a data-ready registry.

Reuters reports that only eight percent of the 155 mandatory national phone registries worldwide require biometric information. No Western democracies are among that eight percent.

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