…it protects our property
You have the right to own things. No one has the right to illegally take them from you.
In Peru, you get asked for your fingerprint and your ID constantly - when you’re getting a new phone line installed or depositing money in your bank account – and every Peruvian person has an ID card, and is included in the National Registry of Identity – a huge database designed to prove that everyone is who they say they are. After all, you can change your name, but not your fingerprint.
However, in 2019 the National Police of Peru uncovered a criminal operation that was doing just that: changing their fingerprints. This gang was searching for people with good credit scores they could victimise by making their own counterfeit IDs, with their victim’s name but a different photo. They were also printing their own 3-D silicon copies of their victim’s fingerprints to wear as gloves to fool biometric scans. Among others they would use them to buy expensive goods, such as mobile phones and charge them to the victims.
It was reported that the gang got the fingerprints from the National Registry itself. For all those people affected by this scam their identity has been compromised forever – as they have no way to change their fingerprints. This whole fraud was facilitated by a mandatory government surveillance programme of registration which was intended to keep people safe.
Privacy is an excellent security policy. It facilitates your right to own property and for it not to be taken away unlawfully by limiting the ways in which you can be targeted by criminals like those in Peru. We are becoming used to the idea that the price of security is renouncing our right to privacy, but it simply isn’t true.
To hear more about this story you can listen to our podcast including an interview we did with Miguel Morachimo – Hiperdercho’s Executive Director.
1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. 2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. Article 17, Right to own property