Lawmakers in Estonia have laid the groundwork for a central biometric database for use by government authorities.
As BNS reports, the Estonian government has now approved a piece of legislation that creates a legal basis for a national Automated Biometric Identification System. Various ministries in the country are currently using a number of different databases containing biometric data, and the aim of the new legislation is to consolidate the data into a central database that can be used for identification purposes.
The centralized ABIS will be used by internal security and law enforcement agencies, according to the report. At the same time, the database will be covered under the Personal Data Protection Act, which means that individuals will have the right to know who has viewed their biometric data.
Access to the database will require specific authorization, and must concern the performance of statutory duties. The legislation is designed to ensure that biometric data in the ABIS is processed as little as possible in pursuit of the aims of those accessing it.
The legislation’s passage can be seen as another illustration of Estonia’s enthusiasm for technologically sophisticated government solutions. The country has established itself as an e-voting pioneer, and has also embraced the use of biometrics and mobile technology for monitoring individuals on house arrest.
Estonia’s ABIS efforts also appear to reflect a broader trend around the world as more government and law enforcement authorities seek to build biometric databases for purposes ranging from criminal identification to citizen ID.
Source: BNS/ERR News
April 1, 2021 – by Alex Perala