If you do not give your personal and biometric data, they will cancel your cell phone service in Mexico

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Learn about the reform that was generally approved today by the Senate on the mobile phone registry

If you have a cell phone or want to buy a new one, you must provide the government with your most intimate information, otherwise you will be left without access to modernity.

With the reform approved yesterday by the majority of Morena and his allies in the Senate of the Republic, it will no longer be enough for a citizen to provide his voter ID and proof of address to have mobile telephony; now you must also provide your biometric data such as fingerprint, iris of the eyes, facial features, tone of voice and signature.

If you do not do so, the activation of the line will be denied, or if it is already activated, it will be canceled. In addition, if the user of an active line refuses to provide their data, they will be entitled to a fine of 89 thousand 692 pesos.

The legal change, which affects 120 million mobile phone users in the country, applies equally to those who have a prepaid and postpaid line.

Yesterday, the senators approved a reform to the Telecommunications Law, which establishes that the owner of an active cell phone or whoever buys a new one must provide their official identification, proof of address, and biometric data to be incorporated into a National Register of Telephone Users Mobile.

The database will remain under the protection of the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), which will have 180 days to prepare the guidelines for its operation. Once that period expires, it will start working.

The reform was approved with 54 votes in favor, 49 against and 10 abstentions.

Moreno Senator Lucy Meza, president of the Communications and Transportation Commission, argued that the reform aims to inhibit the millionaire profits that organized crime obtains from extortion carried out from mobile telephony. 

The opposition described it as authoritarian and in violation of human rights.

The coordinator of the PRI senators, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, announced that he will challenge the creation of the registry.

The senator’s office told El Sol de México that the legal alternatives that exist are the protection of users as well as an action of unconstitutionality before the Supreme Court, for which the opposition bloc requires gathering 33 percent of the signatures of the upper house, and it would serve as long as the Executive publishes the reform in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF).

In a message on his social networks, the former Secretary of the Interior warned that the reform leaves the biometric data of those who acquire a cell phone available to more than 500 commercial establishments.

He added that if a crime is committed with a cell phone, the owner would go directly to a legal process without respecting his presumption of innocence.

Telecommunications experts also questioned the measure. For Jorge Bravo, president of the Mexican Association for the Right to Information (Amedi), the creation of the registry does not solve the problem that there are so many telephones in prisons that are used to extort money and sets a “terrible precedent” in terms of individual rights. .

Around 15% of users used their “reserve” cell phone

“The registry is not the solution. When a fundamental right is affected, everyone is affected, and in this case, the right to communication is affected because if you do not agree to give your information they will suspend the line, and the right to privacy because the authority can intervene in communications without an order. The user is the punished, not the criminals ”, he said.

He recalled that there is already a precedent that did not work – the National Registry of Mobile Telephone Users (RENAUT) -, and that the greatest risk of this initiative is that the government can access user data for political purposes and without order judicial.

Efrén Páez, a senior analyst at Digital Policy & Law, added that the registry will imply costs for operators, for the regulator, and, therefore, for users.

He said that in the case of points of sale that are often in places such as subway stations, operators must invest in technology to take biometric data from users, as well as to strengthen their security and prevent that information from being violated.

“Clearly that will require higher costs of the equipment and its operation, in addition, there is also the question of whether they can be equipped with a secure connection, for example,” he said.

The National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information, and Protection of Personal Data (Inai) warned of potential risk in the registry by allowing biometric data to be manipulated by a large number of telephone companies.

The reform has already been approved in the Chamber of Deputies and it only remains for the Senate to send it to the Executive Branch for publication in the DOF

Source: senado.gob.mx, elsoldemexico.com.mx,