Specialists agreed that the registry would aggravate the problem of 40 million people without access to information technologies in a country where, in addition, 70% of the lines are prepaid.
Up to 30 million Mexicans could be left without access to a cell phone due to the new National Register of Mobile Telephone Users (PNUTM), which requires sharing biometric data with providers and the Government, specialists estimated this Tuesday.
“Our calculations are that around 20 or 30 million Mexicans may be disconnected by this initiative,” said Jorge Fernando Negrete, president of the firm Digital Policy & Law Group in a virtual forum of the civil association Causa en Común.
The panelists addressed the reform to the Federal Telecommunications Law, promulgated on April 17, which creates the register with the line number, activation date, user name, their Unique Population Registration Code (CURP), and their biometric data such as fingerprint and iris.
The concessionaires and the Government will leave without service to those who do not provide their data within a period of two years for pre-existing lines and six months for new lines.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his party, Morena, have defended the register on the grounds that it will combat extortion and organized crime.
But the reform has been suspended indefinitely since April 27 by the Second District Court in Administrative Matters, Specialized in Economic Competition, Broadcasting, and Telecommunications, which considers that the norm violates user rights and will not reduce crimes.
In addition, the registry would aggravate the problem of 40 million people without access to information technologies in a country where, in addition, 70% of the lines are prepaid, argued Negrete.
“The only thing that is stimulating this initiative is that there is a black market for containers with tons of sims (cards) that will arrive here to accelerate the process of digital transformation of organized crime,” said the expert.
The National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) announced on April 27 that it will file an action of unconstitutionality against the registry before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN).
María Elena Morena, president of Causa en Común, asserted that only 17 “authoritarian” countries, such as Venezuela, China, Nigeria, and Pakistan, require biometrics from users.
“A registry with these characteristics can be a catastrophe, especially for the poorest, it is also only typical of dictatorships,” she said.
The security activist described as “absurd” the justification of fighting organized crime due to the risk of “misuse, neglect or corruption of companies or the Government.”
At that time, Max Kaiser, president of the anti-corruption commission of the Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex), agreed.
“Our fear is fully justified, that is, by all these elements of context, of the political moment we are living in, our fear that this legislative measure that seeks to invade the sphere of privacy of people is a dangerous measure,” he said.