Scaled-up surveillance: the EU builds a massive biometric database

Journalist Daniel Trilling explores the EU's interoperability initiative and the construction of the enormous 'Common Identity Repository' database.


"At its headquarters in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, on the Baltic Coast, a little-known European Union body is building one of the worlds largest biometric identity databases.

The Central Identity Repository (CIR) is designed to hold the records of 300 million people and will be the centerpiece of a new, integrated system that allows police forces across the EU to search and cross-check the records of immigrants and visitors from outside Europe. Established by eu-LISA, an EUs cross border IT agency, [CIR] will cost at least $190 million to establish and $33 million a year to maintain.

The CIR and its associated systems will not be completed until 2023 at the earliest, but the project, which was conceived as a counter-terrorism measure, has already faced criticism from human rights activists and observers."

Scaled-up surveillance: the EU builds a massive biometric database (Coda, link)

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