MTC to continue collecting biometric data despite CRAN directive

Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) on Monday said it will continue collecting customers’ biometric data as part of its ‘Verifi’ procedure as an enhanced security measure against cyber theft.

This despite a directive issued Friday by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) that the gathering of biometric data for the purpose of SIM card registration is no longer required.

CRAN stated that the decision was based on complaints from the public and members of the media regarding the practice of some mobile operators requesting biometric data during the SIM card registration process in the absence of a data protection legislative framework.

The Communications Regulatory Authority indicated that operators will only need the information specified in the regulations, which includes the customer’s name, regular dwelling address, and Namibian ID, passport, or any other official identity document issued by a government of any nation.

Customers who voluntarily desire to share their biometric data, on the other hand, are welcome to do so, CRAN stated.

In a press release, MTC’s Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Officer Tim Ekandjo said MTC is considering the notice issued by CRAN, adding that while MTC agrees with CRAN’s viewpoints, it will continue to offer its biometric process as a condition of service to its customers.

“Verifi is done as part of the biometric data gathering process with the purpose of delivering additional protection, which would then help battle fraud and crime – and offer consumer simplicity when it comes to their profiles with MTC,” he stated.

“Thus far, MTC is pleased with the public’s ongoing response to the registration process, particularly with regard to biometrics – for the majority comprehend the security benefits that come with it,” he stated.

Mandatory SIM card registration began on 01 January 2023 in accordance with Section 77 of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009) and associated regulations. Telecommunications service providers were given 12 months to complete the registration of all existing subscribers.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency