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More bad news for Mexico’s proposed nationwide biometrics collection scheme

More bad news for Mexico’s proposed nationwide biometrics collection scheme

Mexico’s proposed mobile phone registry, which would collect biometric identifiers from all phone-account owners in the nation, this week was sidelined again, this time by a subset of the nation’s Supreme Court.

The court’s five-minister First Chamber voted 4 to 1 to keep in place a lower court’s June suspension of the proposed National Register of Mobile Telephone Users. The full 11-minister Supreme Court must still decide the constitutionality of the regulation.

The registry would gather biometric identifiers, including fingerprint and iris scans, from phone owners. It also would hold 10 demographic and account items, including the line holder’s nationality and address.

Mobile service providers would have to gather and store the data for government use, according to the Puerto Vallarta Daily News.

Supporters pushed the registry through Mexico’s Senate in April. It was sold as a way to curtail extortions and kidnappings, which typically involve the use of mobile phone networks.

Even before the June suspension, courts had placed hurdles before implementation.

Privacy advocates view their victory, though temporary, as encouraging for those globally who want meaningful limits on who can collect and access personal biometric data.

Mexico is turning to biometrics to help lower crime rates generally. In August, the government created C5, a security command center in Cancún to manage facial recognition systems targeting crime along the Caribbean coast.

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