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MTC defends collection of fingerprint and facial biometric data

By: Hendrina Kanyolo

The Mobile Telecommunication Company (MTC) has come out in defense of its collection of the fingerprint and facial biometric data during the ongoing SIM card registration. MTC said this is in line with local and international regulations. MTC also stated that they have seen an 80 percent reduction in fraudulent activities since the introduction of the SIM registration.

MTC has been criticised over the collection of facial and fingerprint biometric data in the absence of a legal framework that protects such data.

Speaking at a press conference today, the Chief Legal Compliance and Risk Management Officer, Patience Kanalelo, said the operator has been storing the data and identities on a safe cloud for 27 years. This Kanalelo said, in accordance with the draft Namibia Data Protection Bill and adheres to the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection.

"All of your biometrics when you travel, Home Affairs has them, where does Home Affairs store it? In a safe cloud. So it is just an extension of where all of your information is already anyway. And the law protects you in that I cannot share it unless you've agreed," said Kanalelo.

MTC's Chief Human Capital, Corporate Affairs and Marketing Officer, Tim Ekandjo, added that through the VERIFI, a tool which is used to help the company know who their customers are, will play a big role in making sure that during the course of business, they will not be defrauded by customers presenting false identification documents. He added that customers will also be protected from cyber crime.

“MTC has been defrauded by customers presenting false identification documents, with the VERIFI tool such occurrences can be avoided. MTC has seen a 80% decrease in fraudulent activities since the introduction of sim registration,” said Tim Ekandjo.

Ekandjo further urges their customers to go and register their sim cards. He said so far MTC has registered over 969 000 SIMs while targeting 2.6 million customers to be registered by end of the year.



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