Mexico’s data protection agency is planning to challenge legislation aimed at establishing a biometric registry of mobile users, according to a Reuters report.
Earlier this month, lawmakers passed a bill that required telecommunications companies to collect the fingerprint and iris data of mobile subscribers. The effort is aimed at disrupting criminals’ use of mobile devices to coordinate illegal activities, since government agents would have access to the biometric and biographic data associated with mobile accounts.
Now, the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) plans to challenge the law before the Supreme Court. The organization says that by compelling the collection of biometric data, the law represents a violation of human rights.
“The prosecution of crimes is an issue that should concern us all and the state is responsible for ensuring the safety of the inhabitants, but this cannot and should not be a sufficient reason to restrict freedoms and human rights,” asserted INAI commissioner Adrian Alcala.
According to data collected by the GSMA, about eight percent of the world’s countries mandate the collection of mobile subscribers’ biometrics. And those countries tend to have “questionable records on human rights”, as Reuters’ report puts it. Among the countries that have implemented such requirements are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, and Thailand.
The INAI’s planned legal challenge to the biometrics registry arrives at a time of growing concern about privacy protections with respect to biometrics and AI technologies more broadly, with the European Commission having just announced draft regulatory legislation for the European Union.
April 29, 2021 – by Alex Perala