On March 12, Mexico’s Senate passed legislation requiring citizens to give up incredibly sensitive data in order to have access to a mobile phone. In addition to asking for a copy of an ID, telecoms will now be required to collect people’s fingerprints, faceprints, and home addresses. Companies will have two years to collect the data and make it accessible to the government.
The justification for such a radical move is that mobile phones are key instruments in the extortions, kidnappings, and other crimes that have blighted Mexico over the past years. The government’s theory is that having people’s biometric data will help prevent and solve these crimes. Even though Mexico’s safety situation is dire, in practice, this measure doesn’t stand a chance of helping to fight crime. On the contrary, it is likely to become a massive boon to criminals.