If you buy a phone in Mexico, you now have to get fingerprinted

It’s wrongheaded legislation gone wild! Monday saw a law passed in Mexico that will establish a national register of mobile users. Everyone who buys a cell phone from now on will be fingerprinted. Why, you ask? Because gangs use cell phones. Therefore, if you buy a cell phone, you may be a gang member. It’s all perfectly logical.

The idea, laudable in some ways, is to connect the phones used in kidnappings and drug deals with their owners. Fine. But fingerprinting every single person who buys a phone is using a steamroller when they should be using a scalpel. Why not crack down on fake IDs used to purchase burners, or reward mobile companies that successfully reduce fraudulent or illegal use? The current legislation is like pointing a gun at everybody you meet just in case they’re a werewolf.

I can tell you right now that there are a lot of people in Mexico now who are going to find ways of getting their mobile set up without putting down biometrics.