Mexican data protection authority on taking action against biometric data registry

28. April 2021

Reuters reports that Mexico’s data protection authority is planning to take legal action against a controversial new law that requires telecommunication companies to collect biometric data from users. The data protection authority wants to argue that the privacy of the people concerned is being violated before the Supreme Court.

The law was already passed in April 2021. On paper, it aims to combat crimes such as extortion and kidnapping. The data collection is meant to make it harder for criminals to remain anonymous when buying new mobile phones.

The lawsuit is filed by the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI). Adrian Alcala, a commissioner of the INAI commented: “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”.

Specifically, the amendment requires telecommunication companies to collect fingerprints or eye data from customers. The information collected will then be entered into databases managed by the Mexican Telecommunication Authority. The information will then be available for use in criminal investigations.

Last week, a Mexican judge stopped part of the law from coming into force. The argument was that it would put customers at risk, as they would have to fear that their contracts would be terminated if they did not disclose their data. However, the regulations on data collection and creation of the database are not affected by the judge’s decision.

Category: General