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Commission to "facilitate discussion on biometric identifiers in population registers"
13.12.16
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A European Commission Action Plan on dealing with travel document fraud, published on 8 December, includes a whle host of commitments from the Commission, including: "facilitate discussion on biometric identifiers (facial image and/or fingerprints) in population registers, in full respect of EU data protection law and taking account of the national context in Member States."

The vast majority of Member States already require fingerprints for passports, but the possibility of extending this to "population registers" and including other biometrics (e.g. facial images) would be a sigificant further intrusion.

The Action Plan notes that:

"Beyond the EU, there are projects in the framework of the new Partnership Framework under the European Agenda on Migration to develop biometric registration databases in key partner third countries with capacity to ensure functioning civil registries and fingerprint or biometric digitalisation."

See: European Commission, Action plan to strengthen the European response to travel document fraud (COM(2016) 790 final, 8 December 2016, pdf)

And the Commission's press release: Security Union: Commission presents Action Plan to strengthen the European response to tackle travel document fraud (pdf):

"Today, the Commission has adopted an Action Plan setting out concrete measures to improve the security of travel documents, as announced in the Communication on "Enhancing security in a world of mobility" adopted on the occasion of President Juncker's 2016 State of the Union address. The Action Plan provides clear recommendations for Member States to tackle the phenomenon of travel document fraud and outlines a comprehensive set of actions for the Commission to take. Travel document security is an important factor in the fight against terrorism and organised crime and contributes to improving border protection and migration management, paving a way towards an effective and genuine Security Union."

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