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article imageEU sets out plans for giant biometric database

By Tim Sandle     Apr 23, 2019 in Technology
The European Union is to go ahead with developing a giant biometric database, containing information pertaining to EU and non-EU citizens. The objective is to use the searchable system to assist with crime, border control and inward migration.
The agreement to go ahead with the biometric database was passed by the European Parliament during April 2019. This is for a large biometrics-tracking, searchable database of EU and non-EU citizens to be established. The database will be termed the Common Identity Repository (CIR) and is will bring together the personal records of more than 350 million people.
The proposal has four objectives. First, to ensure that users of the database, such as security personnel, have fast, seamless, systematic and controlled access to the information that they need to perform their tasks. The second aim is have a system that can detect multiple identities linked to the same set of biometric data.
The third function is to facilitate identity checks of third-country nationals, on the territory of a European Union member by police authorities. The fourth function is to facilitate and to streamline access by law enforcement authorities to non-law enforcement information systems at EU level.
Each European state will have access to a shared 'Biometric Matching Service', which has been developed to deliver economies of scale. The system will be capable of providing a fingerprint and facial image search service to cross-match biometric data present on all central systems. In addition, the Common Identity Repository will be able to combine biographical identities of persons (such as name, gender, date of birth) and match this with the biometric data.
According to a European Union spokesperson, the scope of the database is huge: "The systems covered by the new rules would include the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, the Visa Information System (VIS) and three new systems: the European Criminal Records System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN), the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)."
Not all EU citizens are in favor. In response to the initial plans, the campaign body Statewatch said that the CIR's creation as the "point of no return" in creating "a Big Brother centralised EU state database." In response, EU officials see the biometric database as a necessary step for safeguarding EU borders and internal security.
More about Biometrics, European union, Crime, Genetics
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