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Face biometrics mandated for SIM card activation in Argentina

Face biometrics mandated for SIM card activation in Argentina

Argentina’s telecom industry regulator, the National Communications Entity (Enacom), has called on mobile service suppliers to require biometric identification when someone asks for a new SIM card.

According to Spanish-language news publication Clarin, Enacom President Gustavo López aims to reduce identity theft and hacking carried out by swapping genuine SIMs for cloned cards.

Renaper, or the National Registry of Persons, was hacked in October 2021 and biographical details for the country’s entire population allegedly were stolen. Access to this information makes the lives of cloners easier because phone companies ask for biographical account details in order to approve a new card for a phone.

Cloned cards give the bad actors access to all of the data on a phone and can be used to perpetrate fraud.

SIM registration has been adopted in many countries around the world over the past few years, ostensibly to reduce fraud carried out with mobile phones.

Enacom is expected to publish biometrics rules by the end of the month. It is not known, for instance, if phone service firms will have to create their own ID databases or if they will have to use the compromised government ID database, Renaper.

According to Clarin, several phone makers have been critical of the regulation. Implementation reportedly will not be easy, especially when dealing with down-market phones that do not have face biometric functions.

More recently, the Argentine capital Buenos Aires announced plans to create a decentralized digital identity platform, including biometrics for public and private sector use.

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