Mexico: Cases in which personal data from a bank account, cellular telephone or credit card statement have been used by the police or the population in general to locate a third party
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||5 July 2010|
|Citation / Document Symbol||MEX103394.FE|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Mexico: Cases in which personal data from a bank account, cellular telephone or credit card statement have been used by the police or the population in general to locate a third party, 5 July 2010, MEX103394.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e0300ca2.html [accessed 19 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Information on cases in which personal data from a bank account, cellular telephone or credit card statement have been used by the police or by the population in general in order to locate a third party could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, the information below may be useful.
In 15 February 2010 correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, representatives in a law office in Mexico stated that the Law on Credit Institutions (Ley de Instituciones de Crédito) recognizes the right to banking privacy in that [translation from French] "only authorized people may have access to the information, such as those authorized by the law." The Law Office Representatives specified that those authorized individuals are judicial authorities, not police (15 Feb. 2010). Further information to that provided by the Law Office could not be found amoung the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
With respect to telephone services, the Law Office Representatives pointed out that there is no particular directory in Mexico, such as the white pages, in which contact information on a third party could be found (15 Feb. 2010). However, the telecommunications company Telmex, one of the largest in Latin America (Telmex n.d.), is offering its clients the possibility of obtaining the telephone number of a third party, as long as he or she is also a Telmex client, unless that person has a private number (Mexico Telefonos.com n.d.). To do this, users must first be registered with Telmex and must provide the full name of the person whose telephone number they are looking for (ibid.).
A May 2010 article in the Los Angeles Times states that the personal data of millions of cellular telephone users in Mexico was up for sale at the Tepito flea market in Mexico City (12 May 2010). The article also states that included in the personal data for sale at the market was a list of police officers and their photographs (Los Angeles Times 12 May 2010). By cross-referencing this list with other databases available, it would be possible to find out where they live (ibid.). An article published by El Universal, a daily in Mexico City, states that the database from the National Registry of Cellular Telephone Users (Registro Nacional de Usuarios de Telefonía Móvil, RENAUT) was also put up for sale on the Internet (3 June 2010). Further information on the sale of this personal data could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
According to the website of the Ministry of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación, SEGOB), RENAUT is [translation from French] "a mechanism that groups together current information about mobile telephone users and that aims to help prevent, investigate and curb offences such as kidnapping and extortion, in which cellular telephones are often used" (Mexico n.d.). That same site states that cellular telephone users were required to register with RENAUT before 10 April 2010 or their telephone service would be suspended (ibid.). Since that date, new users must register to activate their cellular telephone services (ibid.). The site indicates that the user must provide their full name and their date of birth to register (ibid.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Law office. 15 February 2010. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate by representatives.
Los Angeles Times. 12 May 2010. Tracy Wilkinson. "Personal Cellphone Data End Up for Sale at Mexico Flea Market."
Mexico. N.d. Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB). "Preguntas frecuentes."
Mexico Telefonos.com. N.d. "Mexico - Telefonos paginas blancas."
Telmex. N.d. "¿Quiénes somos?"
El Universal [Mexico City]. 3 June 2010. Víctor Solís. "Datos de celulares, de venta en la web."
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Representatives from the cellular telephone companies Movistar México, Nextel de México and Telcel, as well as representatives from the Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información Pública (IFAI) and from the Registro Nacional de Usuarios de Telefonía Móvil (RENAUT) of the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) were unable to provide information within the time constraints for this Response.
Internet sites, including: Grupo Iusacel, Mexico - Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Cofetel), MoviStar México, Nextel de México, Telcel.