European Commission Proposes Mandatory Fingerprint Data for EU ID Cards

“Like other recent EU regulations including the GDPR and PSD2 requirements, the proposed regulation could be a boon to the region’s biometrics industry, both by establishing a need for compliance solutions, and by strengthening the ties between biometrics and official documentation.”

The European Commission has issued a new set of proposals aimed at bolstering security in the EU, among which is a requirement that member countries include citizens’ fingerprint information in their ID cards.

The requirement would not apply to European Union countries that do not currently issue ID cards, but would require those that do to phase out non-biometric ID cards within five years, and to phase out cards that can’t be read by a machine within two years. The new cards would be required to include images of two fingerprints and the cardholder’s face.

Like other recent EU regulations including the GDPR and PSD2 requirements, the proposed regulation could be a boon to the region’s biometrics industry, both by establishing a need for compliance solutions, and by strengthening the ties between biometrics and official documentation. But the move could also prove controversial with respect to privacy concerns, especially given that, as Reuters reports, the requirements are for images of fingerprints themselves, and not simply encrypted fingerprint data. Fingerprint images would be more susceptible to copying and spoofing, raising the spectre of identity theft and other forms of fraud.

Other security measures put forward by the European Commission this week include new controls for firearms, an expanded list of chemicals whose sale is forbidden, and easier access to banking information for police authorities. Along with the biometric requirements, these are currently just proposals, and will need to be voted on by EU members before they can be officially implemented.

Source: Reuters

April 17, 2018 – by Alex Perala