25 March 2023 | 12:37 PM

AmaBhungane makes oral submissions on draft regulations issued by ICASA

Are you comfortable with cellphone companies collecting and keeping your biometric information? Today, amaBhungane will be making oral submissions on draft regulations issued by ICASA which proposes that mobile network operators collect biometric data when selling SIM cards.

The regulations propose that biometric verification take place when SIM swap requests are made – ostensibly, to guard against unauthorised SIM swaps, which can be used to commit banking and other types of fraud.

AmaBhungane is opposed to these regulations because (1) biometric verification carries inherent risks that data can be misused, (2) this is not a permanent solution as biometrics can be faked and (3) that there are easier, cheaper, better methods to prevent fraudulent SIM swaps.

The expanding acceptance of biometric identity verification is a concerning instance of “surveillance creep”, where the public are made to accept ever-increasing intrusions on their privacy in exchange for promises of security.

Read full submission here

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Aisha Abdool Karim

Aisha is a freelance science and health reporter. She is joining the amaB team to work on a project about water and sanitation. Aisha’s passion for long-form narrative and investigative journalism was sparked while doing her master’s degree at Columbia University in New York. After graduating in 2018, she returned to South Africa and began working as a general beat reporter for the Daily Maverick. Aisha joined the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism in 2020 to focus on science reporting. During her time there, she covered the COVID-19 pandemic extensively — from fact-checking harmful medical misinformation to unpacking the science behind vaccine development. Aisha’s special interests include analysing health systems and in-depth coverage of public health issues and infectious diseases. She also loves spreadsheets and digging through data.

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