South African networks might have to gather fingerprints, faces — and POPIA received’t cease it

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) stated it had obtained substantial suggestions on its proposal to make cell networks confirm the id of consumers utilizing biometrics.

Icasa revealed the draft laws for public remark in March 2022, and now that it has obtained suggestions, it’s going to resolve on the following steps.

“It is now being considered, and we will then decide what the next step of consultation should be,” City Press quoted Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka as saying.

Icasa’s proposed guidelines purpose to fight rising SIM-swap fraud, the place criminals take over cell numbers via both quantity porting or fraudulent SIM swaps.

Mobile community operators have been weighing the ramifications of the proposal, and Cell C’s chief authorized officer Zahir Williams beforehand informed MyBroadband that the members of Comric would meet to debate the proposal.

“The collection of subscriber biometric data is an important telco industry matter that will be considered at an industry forum provided by the Communications Risk Information Centre (Comric),” Williams stated.

“Cell C, Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Liquid Intelligent Technologies are members of Comric and will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss factors that must be taken into account when collecting biometric information,” he added.

MTN informed MyBroadband that the result of Comric’s assessments would information it.

Vodacom stated it was inspired by the improved buyer safety measures advised in Icasa’s draft laws.

However, whereas the proposal will add one other layer of safety for cell community clients, there are considerations over the security of the biometrics and the way simple it will be to idiot recognition programs with false or stolen knowledge.

There can also be concern that the brand new requirement will make it too cumbersome for subscribers emigrate between networks.

Ahmore Burger-Smidt
Ahmore Burger-Smidt, Werksmans Attorney director and head of knowledge privateness follow

One criticism levelled at Icasa was that the draft laws might violate the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

However, Ahmore Burger-Smidt of Werksman Attorneys stated the criticism is unfounded.

She defined that those that consider it’s in contravention of POPIA’s laws regarding the processing and availability of non-public info have the inaccurate interpretation.

“POPI does not place an absolute ban on the processing and use of personal information. It prescribes measures for how and when you can use it,” Burger-Smidt stated.

Burger-Smidt stated that laws surrounding biometric knowledge and SIM playing cards needs to be mandated by the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act (Rica).

Rica stipulates that mobile customers should show their id and residence earlier than they are often issued a SIM card.

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