EU to create major biometrics database

(Image credit: Image Credit: Flickr / AMISOM)

Following a recent vote, the European Parliament has agreed to build one giant biometric database, which will be used to store all kinds of border-control, migration, and law enforcement data.

The system will be called the Common Identity Repository (CIR), and will provide law enforcement agencies with fingerprints, facial recognition data, as well as personally identifiable information such as birthdates or passport numbers.

Among the data of 350 million people will be both those living in the EU and those outside the Union, but to say that this idea did not sit well with privacy advocacy groups would be a sever understatement.

Statewatch called it the first step towards Big Brother.

According to the EP, it “will make EU information systems used in security, border and migration management interoperable enabling data exchange between the systems.”

“Without changing access rights or endangering the data protection rules that govern them, interoperability will ensure faster, more systematic and more complete access to EU information systems for professionals on the ground: police officers, border guards, migration officers and consulate staff members, in order for them to do their job better,” Rapporteur Jeroen Lenaers (EPP, NL) said in a statement in February. “Better decisions can be made on the basis of better information.”

According to Gizmodo, a European Commission official said they didn’t “think anyone understands what they’re voting for.”

It will be interesting to see CIR complying with GDPR, though.

Image Credit: Flickr / AMISOM