Israeli authorities are making participation in a national biometric identity program mandatory.
The announcement arrived as a long pilot program testing the biometric registry came to a close. The project was started in the summer of 2013 and later saw two extensions, with the first arriving just ahead of a scathing report from the State Comptroller criticizing the lack of accuracy in the program’s fingerprint scanning, and the unreliability of its biometric ID cards when used at the Ben-Gurion Airport.
Over a million individuals have now registered, and going forward biometric registration will be compulsory for anyone applying for an ID document from the Interior Ministry, according to its head director. Officials are still debating whether to use facial biometrics along or those of two fingerprints per citizen, or both modalities.
Announcing these changes at a ceremony marking the million-registrant milestone, Interior Minister Arye Dery said that in embracing biometric identification, “Israel is joining many other countries around the world which have concluded that their citizens should have smart and secure documentation.” Dery also strained to reassure his audience about the program’s security, saying, “there is nothing to worry about. There is nothing more secure than this database. People can remain calm, I can say with certainty – we have a secure database.”
July 5, 2016 – by Alex Perala