European Union Votes to Form Massive Biometric Database

European Union Votes to Form Massive Biometric Database

The European Union is moving forward with plans to consolidate multiple border control and law enforcement systems into one massive biometric database. The Common Identity Repository (CIR) will have records on more than 350 million people, which will make it the third largest tracking database in the world behind the national systems currently in place in China and India. 

The searchable database will include information like date of birth and passport numbers in addition to biometric identifiers like fingerprints and face scans, all of which will be available to all border control and law enforcement agencies in the EU. Despite resistance from privacy advocates, the decision to create the CIR was made with overwhelming support in European Parliament, largely because it’s much easier for border officials to sort through a single database instead of multiple separate ones.

The European Parliament has promised to ensure that the CIR has “proper safeguards,” although the database will have information on EU and non-EU citizens and it’s not yet clear what constitutes “proper” in this particular case. The CIR will also have an enormous pool of information to draw from once it gets put in place. The Schengen region has required fingerprint biometrics for years, while many European airports have introduced some form of biometric passenger screening. 

The CIR will cover the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, and the Visa Information System (VIS), among other travel-related systems.

Source: ZDNet

April 23, 2019 – by Eric Weiss