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European Parliament Agrees to Biometric Passports

January 15, 2009

The European Union’s plan to introduce biometric passports (with fingerprint images) will go ahead from the end of June after the European Parliament finally agreed to the proposal. This means that all states of the EU will now have to construct new databases of fingerprints for the entire population (including the UK and Ireland who, although outside the Schengen agreement on internal borders, voluntarily follow the same passport standards).

The Parliament did manage to introduce one major ammendment which rejected the European Commission’s plan to have children under 12 years-old fingerprinted as well – although some countries already do this. However, this vote was a rubber-stamping exercise by a ineffectual body.

The unreliability of fingerprint identification, which is mentioned in this report by PC Worldremains a major issue. Having talked to European Commission people at many different events, my general opinion of them  is that, whilst well-meaning, they are seriously lacking technological expertise and knowledge of the research in the area, and generally fail to listen to those who know except where they will confirm their existing opinions. Like most governments.

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