Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/10/mexico_fingerprint_phone/

Mexican phone firms to fingerprint new customers

If they have any fingers left, that is

By James Sherwood

Posted in Phones, 10th February 2009 15:17 GMT

Buying a mobile phone in Mexico will soon be a biometric affair. The country’s set to introduce a law requiring all new phone buyers to be fingerprinted.

The law, according to a report by Reuters, comes into force this April and has been designed as a way of matching calls and text messages to the specific owner of a specific phone.

Why? Because Mexico’s kidnap rate is rising thanks, in part, to drug gangs seeking new ways to make money.

Some of these gangs work from prison cells, where they use mobiles to threatent extortion or kidnapping.

In addition to recording the fingerprints of anyone buying a new mobile phone or signing up to a new contract, network providers must also store details about an individual user’s call, text and voicemail history for 12 months.

Phone owners not thinking of rolling someone up in a carpet and throwing them off a bridge have been urged to report lost or stolen mobile phones immediately. And don't eBay your old phone when you upgrade, or pass it on to a pal.

After all, you don’t want to get stuck with an unpaid bill and a kidnapping charge... ®