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European Visa Information System accepted by the EU bodies

20 June, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The legislative package on the Visa Information System (VIS) was adopted by the European Parliament and a political agreement was reached within the Justice and Home Affairs Council in the last couple of weeks. This means that the final steps have been adopted to create the biggest biometric database in the world.

The VIS Legislative package is formed by the VIS Regulation and the VIS Decision. The VIS Regulation will allow consulates and other competent authorities to start using the system when processing visa applications and to check visas. The VIS Decision will allow police and law enforcement authorities to consult the data under certain conditions that should ensure

Civil liberties threatened by the new centralized EU fingerprint database

28 March, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

A proposal for the creation of a centralized database of fingerprints from all 27 EU countries was included in a new European Commission document that sets out the goals for 2008.

The fingerprints database is to be operational by the end of 2008 and it will include sensitive information that could be shared with third parties, such as US law enforcement authorities.

This proposal, considered as a Big Brother type of initiative, has raised the opposition of the sceptics as well as supporters of EU being seen as a trap of a super-state as well as a threat to civil liberties respectively.

"The European Union is gaining criminal justice powers very rapidly. The problem is that one thing leads to another and that setting up centralised

UK Home Office plans to fingerprint children starting 11

14 March, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

"Restricted" documents circulated among officials in the UK Identity and Passport have shown Home Office plans to fingerprint children aged 11 years and over, beginning with 2010, as part of the programme for the introduction of new biometric passports and ID cards.

The fingerprints are to be stored in a big database expected to cover about half a million children by 2011 that will be also used by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to store fingerprints of asylum seekers.

The programme of introducing biometric elements on ID cards foresees that all citizens over 16 will be taken fingerprints, eye and facial details when applying for passports. Initially, children were supposed to be exempt from

Serbia rejects biometric ID cards

31 January, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

A grass-roots campaign in Serbia successfully pressed the Serbian government to back off on a plan to make biometric data compulsory in the country's new ID cards. The decision followed a pitched battle prior to the 21 January 2007 election as opponents criticized the accompanying plan for a centralized database of citizen information and the taking of fingerprints.

The campaign against the Government plan practically started in December 2004, when the Dveri NGO organized a public debate at the College of Mechanical Engineering in Belgrade. In March 2005, the Zhicha Bishoprie of the Serbian Orthodox Church organized a scientific forum, from which a number of IT professionals, university professors and intellectuals sent a

Biometric scanning is being tested in Heathrow Airport

20 December, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

A biometric scanning system called miSense started to be used as a trial on December 2006 at Heathrow Airport, as part of the International Air Transport Association's Simplifying Passenger Travel Programme.

The system allows passengers to scan their passport and right index finger, creating an electronic key that permits them to skip boarding queues, thus aiming to simplify their journey through the airport. The UK Government decided to use it to control immigration and check the identity of people coming to Great Britain.

The UK immigration minister Liam Byrne, said the scanning system would improve security but also allow the passengers to go through the check-in more easily and rapidly: "I think it's going to be popular. People want

Travellers privacy and European Union

30 August, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The event "Travellers privacy and EU" was organised on 3 August 2006 by Prague based NGO Iuridicum Remedium and it brought together Czech and European stakeholders across the spectrum working on technological developments that affect the movement of people across borders.

Speakers came from Data protection agencies within Europe (Italy, Czech Republic, Spain), Czech law enforcement agencies, including the Ministry of the Interior, Czech airlines and the company (Logica CMG) that is producing the RFID-chipped Czech passport - which comes into force on 1 September 2006.

The day was divided into three sessions: the first on the background of travel documents and biometrics, the Schengen Information System, and the

Cloning an electronic passport

30 August, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

In a public demonstration at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on 3 August 2006, Lukas Grunwald's, CTO of German security consultancy DN-Systems Enterprise Internet Solutions, made a demonstration on how electronic passports could be cloned. The industry that produces the passports has denied the allegations.

The German consultant made a demonstration showing the data on the e-passport chip can be easily copied. He has shown that the data can be transferred onto a blank chip that can then be inserted into a blank document looking like the original passport to the electronic passport reader.

Thus, a terrorist could use a passport with his/her real name and

EU trying to push again biometrics on national ID cards

2 August, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

According to a EU document presented by Statewatch in July 2006, The Visa Working Party on 13-14 June 2006 proposed another approach on the issue of the biometrics to be introduced on national ID cards.

The issue had met resistance back in February when several members of the European Council have expressed doubts especially as Belgium and the Czech Republic opposed to the measures proposed by EU, without a public debate.

In December 2005 the two governments gave a statement by which expressed their view that the introduction of biometrics into the ID national cards involved discussions of private life protection, financial and organizational issues, besides the technical aspect.

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