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Citizens Reject Proposed South African Law Linking Biometrics to SIM Cards

(by Sibahle Malinga | IT Web) – public campaign on proposed draft regulations seeking to link South Africans’ biometric data to their SIM cards has attracted almost 21,000 public comments, with the overwhelming majority rejecting the proposal.

The campaign is run by advocacy non-profit Dear SA, which individually submits each comment made by citizens to government.

In March, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) published draft regulations proposing to tie the biometric data of phone users in SA to their SIM cards.

The proposal, included alongside other draft regulations, is out for public comment until 11 May.

The regulations define biometric data as the measurement and statistical analysis of people’s unique physical and behavioural characteristics.

If passed into law, mobile operators will have access to users’ fingerprint mapping, facial recognition, retina scans, and biometric and behavioural data, tied to their SIM cards and phone numbers.

However, according to comments made on the Dear SA website, citizens are up in arms over the draft regulations, expressing concerns that the move is a violation of their right to privacy, noting that certain elements of the rule are a contravention of the law.

One comment states: “No, I DO NOT support the proposed regulation! Yet again another mechanism to track and trace one under the disguise of ‘security’. Clearly preparing us for the One World Government where you will own nothing and be happy and be forced to live off Universal Basic Income. It’s an invasion of privacy and it WILL 100% be abused by the government.”

“My main concern is the South African communist government attempting to turn South Africa into a surveillance state mirroring the Chinese social credit score which I feel as with hate speech laws, infringes on South Africans’ freedom and rights,” says another, in opposition to the proposal.

Another citizen believes the proposed regulation is unlawful: “This is unconstitutional and a breach of privacy. It is also overbearing and discriminatory. My behaviour has got nothing to do with anyone as long as I don’t break the law.”

“Why do you have to have all my personal information; it feels like the only way government can resolve any issue is by stripping freedoms from people and invading their right to privacy,” reads another comment posted on Dear SA. Read Full Article >

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