Biometrics-to-SIM proposal caused alarms for data security

Biometrics SIM Alarms Data Security Privacy InfoSec South Africa

The South African phone users have expressed their concerns about their data security after a proposal to put their biometric data on SIM cards was proposed by lawmakers in their country.

A committee included the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s proposal in the list of draft regulations released by the watchdog for public commentary last month. If successfully approved and passed down as a new law, the proposal will allow cell phone networks access to their customer’s retina scans, facial recognition data, fingerprints, and biometric and behavioural data.

The proposal stated that when a SIM card is activated on its network, a licensee should mandatorily gather and connect the biometric of the SIM owner to the number. In addition, the licensee must ensure that it has the latest biometric data of an assigned mobile number to avoid inputting outdated information.

The proposal also includes that the biodata requesting a SIM swap should be precise and correspond with the number’s information.

ICASA stated that the newly proposed security measure would lessen the fraudulent acts and SIM swapping attacks currently rampaging in their country. The South African authority then added that they expect this proposal to help mitigate the sim hijacking incident that has become prevalent in their area.

 

However, some of South Africa’s citizens have issues regarding the proposal since it can result in a massive data security breach.

 

The public, who has only until the 11th of May, has the right to comment regarding the proposal. Many have expressed their concerns regarding the bid since it will have power over their data security, which can lead to an invasion of privacy.

Another concern is that identity theft may spike up since sim cards can be stolen or cloned by threat actors. Other concerned citizens also ask what would happen if the data entrusted to the phone networks is stolen, lost, or hacked.

As of now, there have been numerous valid concerns from the public regarding the proposed law. Additionally, the proposal is still open for criticism and lawmakers are expected to give an accurate result after the 11th of May.

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