Regulator and amaBhungane in face-off over biometric verification on cellphones

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Protection of personal information comes under the spotlight at public hearings of draft Amendment Numbering Plan regulations.
Protection of personal information comes under the spotlight at public hearings of draft Amendment Numbering Plan regulations.

The linking of mobile phone numbers to users' biometric data as a tool for curbing criminal activity has come under sharp scrutiny at public hearings on the amendment of a regulation that aims to strengthen the security of communications.

The draft amendment of the Numbering Plan Regulations was gazetted in March, and one of its provisions calls on mobile operators to ensure they collect and link biometric data of subscribers to all active mobile numbers.

The rationale is that it could aid in cracking down on SIM swap fraud, and help prevent cybercriminals from accessing a victim's financial accounts and gaining access to their sensitive personal information and other accounts through their mobile number.

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