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HomeAfricaIvory Coast Sounds the Alarm: ARTCI Warns Against Illegal Biometric Data Use

Ivory Coast Sounds the Alarm: ARTCI Warns Against Illegal Biometric Data Use


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The Autorité pour la Régulation des Télécommunications/TIC de Côte d’Ivoire (ARTCI), Ivory Coast’s telecom and ICT regulatory agency, recently issued a strong warning against the illegal collection, storage, and use of biometric data. This action highlights growing concerns about biometric data privacy and the potential for misuse in a world increasingly reliant on such technology.

Understanding Biometric Data

Biometric data refers to biological and physiological characteristics used for identification and verification purposes. Examples include fingerprints, facial recognition data, iris scans, and voice patterns.

Biometric data offers several advantages in various applications:

  • Enhanced Security: Biometric authentication can provide a more secure alternative to traditional passwords or PINs for accessing devices or accounts.
  • Improved Convenience: Biometric login systems can offer a faster and more convenient user experience.
  • Streamlined Identity Management: Biometrics can simplify identity verification processes in various sectors like banking and border control.

However, the collection and use of biometric data also raise significant privacy concerns:

  • Potential for Abuse: Biometric data, once compromised, cannot be easily changed, unlike passwords. A data breach could lead to the misuse of this sensitive information.
  • Mass Surveillance Concerns: The widespread use of biometric data for identification purposes raises concerns about mass surveillance and potential violations of individual privacy.
  • Discriminatory Applications: Biometric data could be used for discriminatory purposes, particularly if algorithms exhibit bias or are not rigorously tested for fairness.

ARTCI’s Warning and its Significance

The ARTCI’s warning serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of responsible biometric data management in Ivory Coast. Here’s what it signifies:

  • Protecting Citizen Privacy: The ARTCI emphasizes the need to safeguard citizen privacy and ensure the responsible use of biometric data.
  • Regulatory Framework Needed: The warning highlights the need for a clear and robust regulatory framework governing the collection, storage, and use of biometric data in Ivory Coast.
  • Promoting Transparency and Accountability: The ARTCI’s action encourages transparency and accountability from entities collecting and utilizing biometric data.

10 Recommendations for Responsible Biometric Data Management

The ARTCI’s warning is a timely call for action. Here are 10 recommendations for responsible biometric data management in Ivory Coast and beyond:

  1. Implement a Legal Framework: Develop a comprehensive legal framework that defines legitimate purposes for collecting biometric data, outlines data protection principles, and establishes user consent requirements.
  2. Data Minimization: Collect only the minimum amount of biometric data necessary for the intended purpose and avoid collecting extraneous information.
  3. Strong Data Security Measures: Implement robust security measures to protect biometric data from unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification.
  4. Data Subject Rights: Provide individuals with clear and accessible mechanisms to access, rectify, or erase their biometric data upon request.
  5. Transparency and User Consent: Clearly inform individuals about how their biometric data is collected, used, and stored, and obtain explicit informed consent before data collection.
  6. Purpose Limitation: Biometric data should only be collected and used for the specific purposes for which consent was obtained.
  7. Independent Oversight: Establish an independent oversight body to monitor compliance with data protection regulations concerning biometric data.
  8. Privacy Impact Assessments: Conduct privacy impact assessments before deploying any technology that collects or uses biometric data.
  9. Security Awareness Training: Educate personnel involved in handling biometric data about data security best practices and potential privacy risks.
  10. Public Education and Awareness: Raise public awareness about biometric data privacy rights and encourage individuals to be cautious about sharing their biometric information.

Conclusion: Building Trust in the Digital Age

The responsible use of biometric data is essential to build trust in the digital age. By implementing robust regulations, prioritizing data security, and empowering individuals with control over their biometric information, Ivory Coast and other nations can harness the benefits of this technology while safeguarding citizen privacy. The ARTCI’s warning serves as a springboard for constructive dialogue and the development of comprehensive strategies for responsible biometric data management in a world increasingly reliant on this powerful technology.

Ouaissou DEMBELE
Ouaissou DEMBELEhttps://cybercory.com
Ouaissou DEMBELE is an accomplished cybersecurity professional and the Editor-In-Chief of cybercory.com. He has over 10 years of experience in the field, with a particular focus on Ethical Hacking, Data Security & GRC. Currently, Ouaissou serves as the Co-founder & Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Saintynet, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. In this role, he is responsible for managing the company's cybersecurity strategy, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, and identifying and mitigating potential threats, as well as helping the company customers for better & long term cybersecurity strategy. Prior to his work at Saintynet, Ouaissou held various positions in the IT industry, including as a consultant. He has also served as a speaker and trainer at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. Ouaissou holds a number of certifications in cybersecurity, including the Cisco Certified Network Professional - Security (CCNP Security) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), ITIL. With his wealth of experience and knowledge, Ouaissou is a valuable member of the cybercory team and a trusted advisor to clients seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture.


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