Mexican Supreme Court rejects government attempt to collect biometric data from cell phone users



The First Chamber of the Nation’s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) upheld the suspension of the National Register of Mobile Phone Users (Panaut), also known as the New Mobile Phone Registry, under the Federal Institute of telecommunications (IFT).

By four votes to one, the ministers rejected the appeal lodged by the federal government to appeal against the suspension of the law on June 11 by Minister Norma Lucía Piña Hernández, which prevented the IFT from initiating the process of launching the National register of mobile phone users. , which provides for the collection of biometric data from all users. The government is seeking to collect fingerprints, iris scans and other biometric data from all cell users in Mexico, including foreigners.

The Mexican Senate approved the controversial bill on April 12, 2021 and would create a national registry of cellphone users, which will be mandatory for all cellphone users and will contain each person’s biometric data.

The main objective of the reform, according to the bill, is to stop crimes of extortion and kidnappings which, in many cases, are committed from prisons, via cell phones that smuggle into prisons.

The register, according to the bill, “is a database containing information on the natural or legal persons who own each mobile phone line bearing numbers from the basic technical numbering plan”.

The register will contain 10 different data points: the number of the cell phone line; the date and time of activation of the mobile telephone line purchased with the SIM card; the full name of the owner or, where applicable, the name or business name of the user; Nationality; official identification number with photograph and unique code from the population register (CURP) of the holder of the line.

In addition, mobile phone providers must collect the biometric data of the user or, where applicable, the legal representative of the company registering the mobile phone; the user’s address; the data of the telecommunications company, or where applicable, those authorized; and contact details for the mobile, postpaid or prepaid telephone line.

Mexico’s Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the bill, but today again suspended the activation of the bill until the constitutionality issue has been resolved.

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