EU: "The collision of chips"

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European Commission: Modified proposal for a Regulation on Amending Regulation (EC) 1030/2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals (pdf). This modified proposal says that it is "optional" for member state to insert a chip with biometrics (fingerprints) into residence permits. It also announces that the plan to insert biometric chips into visas is being withdrawn - this is due to the fact that no technological fix has been found to the "clash of chips", that is, between a biometric chip inserted by the third country in its passport clashing with the EU visa chip. Now "biometric identifiers will only be stored in the Visa Information System". Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Only storing biometrics (fingerprints) on the central VIS system, would seem to present an obvious problem (just about as obvious as the "collision problem" was back in 2003). If the biometric data is not in the visa the only way to carry out a check will be to take the fingerprints of people entering the EU with a visa on entry, either at an airport, seaport or land border. This would be very time-consuming, costly and in some cases lead to long queues while peoples' details are checked and cleared"

For full background: Statewatch analysis: EU biometric visa policy unworkable (January 2005)

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