Israeli Legislature Passes Biometric ID Law

“While the country’s biometric smart cards will need to include citizens’ facial and fingerprint data, the latter no longer needs to be submitted to a national database, though individuals who opt out will need to renew their IDs twice as often.”

Israel’s legislature has approved a new law that will make registration in a national biometric ID program mandatory.

Israeli Legislature Passes Biometric ID LawThe effort has long been controversial. A pilot project was extended despite a State Comptroller report decrying its lack of accuracy and unreliability, and Interior Minister Arye Dery pushing new legislation to fully realize the program despite a petition from the academic community warning about the vulnerability of a state biometrics database to hack attacks.

The new law includes adjustments meant to assuage such concerns. While the country’s biometric smart cards will need to include citizens’ facial and fingerprint data, the latter no longer needs to be submitted to a national database, though individuals who opt out will need to renew their IDs twice as often. Meanwhile, the minimum age at which citizens must register has been bumped up from 12 to 16.

The legislation passed through a final vote of 39 to 29 in the Knesset. Provided that Minister Dery provides detailed set of enforcement regulations to the legislature by May 1st, the law will go into effect on July 3rd.

Sources: The Times of Israel, Bloomberg BNA