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IFT to challenge AMLO’s new mobile phone registry requirements

Mexico City, Mexico — The Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) is following in the steps of the INAI (National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data) saying they will challenge the new mobile phone registry system before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN).

The Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT) says the creation of the National Register of Mobile Telephone Users (Panaut) is unconstitutional, adding that it lacks the resources to handle such a register of mobile phone users.

“The legislative act contains elements that could be in conflict with the IFT’s mandate to guarantee the rights contained in Articles 6 and 7 of the Constitution as well as to favor access to telecommunications services, which are fundamental rights,” the institute said a statement.

The IFT said that it does not have the necessary resources to allocate to the Padrón Nacional de Usuarios de Telefonía Móvil (Panaut), which is supposed to collect information from mobile phone and internet users.

According to the reform, the registry must be installed, operated, regulated and maintained by the IFT, which implies allocating resources from its own budget. Likewise, it will be the one that requests the telecommunications concessionaires to cancel telephone lines that have not been registered.

“It is important to note that, neither in the budget planning nor in the budget approved by the Chamber of Deputies for fiscal year 2021, are there resources assigned to launch the Panaut, as the latter is a recent expense obligation generated during the fiscal year underway,” the document reads.

The IFT puts their autonomy on the table and says that they have the freedom to exercise the assigned budget in the way that suits them best. Although, during the fiscal year, adjustments, reductions and extensions can be made to their items and spending program, this can only happen when compliance with the goals of the regulatory body is not jeopardized.

“The Plenary of the IFT considered that there is no justification for the legislator to determine that the IFT should take the necessary actions so that the expenditures are made from its budget approved in the current and subsequent fiscal years,” they added.

The IFT is not the only entity that decided to challenge the creation of the Panaut before the National Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN). A few weeks ago, the INAI filed constitutional action after the commissioners demonstrated against the decree that amended and added various provisions of the Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law, published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) on April 16, 2021.

INAI commissioners agreed that the Panaut affects the Human Rights of Access to Public Information and Protection of Personal Data and that the collection of biometric data is not necessary, since the National Registry already exists.

“The reform of the law that we are now commenting does not establish with precision which biometric data are those that will be delivered for the integration of the registry and the procedure to access them, so the principle of legal certainty could also be violated,” said commissioner Adrián Alcala.

The approved reform indicates that all people who have a cell phone number are required to provide personal data such as name, business, address, nationality, CURP and biometric data (such as an iris scan).

Registration must be carried out within two years, but its implementation could be halted if the SCJN agrees that the reform is unconstitutional.