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Biometrics

EU might fingerprint children even before 12 years old

2 August, 2006
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(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The report from the EU Council Presidency meeting of 26 June 2006 proposes that all children in the European Union should be mandatory fingerprinted if they are over 12 years old. "If provided for by national legislation" this action could be extended to all children, even below 12 years of age.

The Council is putting under discussion fingerprints as compulsory for EU passports in order to prevent passport fraud. The decision will be taken in a secret meeting of a committee made of representatives of the 25 governments and chaired by the European Commission.

The text proposed by the EU Council says that a member state can establish the age limit as low as they want and after 12, this process is mandatory.

New Czech Police draft act allows taking DNA samples by force

7 June, 2006
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The Czech Senate, upper chamber of the Parliament, approved on 25 May 2006 the amendment of the Criminal Proceedings Code and Police Act, which empowers police officers to take DNA samples and other identification samples as fingerprints.

According to the draft police can take the DNA samples even by using force in case of resistance. Currently, a person may refuse to provide the saliva sample, which could result only in aprocedural fine of maximum 2800 Eur.

The new amendment foresees that the DNA samples can be taken from people suspected, charged, accused, sentenced or in execution of protective measures. The amendment also contains provisions authorizing massive DNA sampling from all people that are imprisoned for wilful crimes. This purposed measure will concern approximately 12 000 people.

Passports with biometrics for Romanians

10 May, 2006
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Starting with 1 January 2007, passports containing electronic chips will be put into circulation for the Romanian citizens. The passports will include a storage system (probably RFID) for personal data, including a facial image and digital fingerprints.

The present passports will preserve their validity and they will be replaced at the request of the citizens. According to a draft Government Decision under public debate the producer of the electronic passports will be designated by international bidding. The sole supplier must provide the necessary documents and technique for the introduction of the electronic system at EU standards. The provider will finance the project and will be further on reimbursed in instalments as established by the contract. The provider, with the agreement of the Ministry of Finance, will also establish

EU Parliament Members want more privacy in SIS II

10 May, 2006
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The Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs at the European Parliament debated the draft Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II).

There was a consensus among members of the committee that better privacy safeguards are needed for the SIS II, especially because it will contain sensitive biometric data. Now the questions are related to the usage of the biometric data as a search criterion by the law enforcement authorities. However, representatives of the European Commission called the option of using these data as a basis for searches "indispensable."

The draft report on the proposal for the Regulation from the MEP Carlos Coelho (PPE - Portugal) highlights that "a 'bigger system' requires 'bigger

Results data protection inspection EURODAC kept secret

15 March, 2006
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The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has completed a first inspection of the central unit of EURODAC, but the complete results of the report have not been made public, arguing sensitivity of the information.

EURODAC is a community-wide information technology system for the comparison of the fingerprints of asylum seekers, which was adopted on 11 December 2000 and started operations on 15 January 2003. The system was created to allow the Member States to identify Non-EU citizens who had already filed an asylum application in another Member State.

EURODAC Central unit is responsible for the operation of a computerised central database for comparing fingerprints, an automated fingerprint identification system and a secure communications system for data transmission from and towards the Member States.

New biometric passports in Slovenia

1 March, 2006
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Slovenia is joining the list of Visa Waiver Program countries whose citizens will be able to acquire new biometric passports before October 2006, as required by the United States. Currently there are 27 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program, including Slovenia, whose citizens can enter the territory of the United States without Visa.

The selection process of the manufacturer of Slovenian biometric passports is best described as chaotic. The two manufacturers of the current non-biometric passports, Cetis and Mirage Holography Studio, immediately revealed their aspirations to produce a new passport when the government cancelled a contract for non-biometric passports in February 2005. They confirmed the existence of prototypes of biometric passports before the government even issued the first tender in March. A month later, a motion

French Big Brother Awards 2006

15 February, 2006
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The 6th edition of the French Big Brother Awards taking place in Paris on 3 February has chosen the following in the 5 different award sections, for causing the most damage to personal privacy.

The Orwell Award for State official - the winner was Jean-Michel Charpin, Directeur de l'Insee (INES) for his participation in the INES project (Electronically Secured National Identity card). By this project he created a direct link to the Ministry of Interior Affairs ignoring the separation between population statistics and police administration. The card will include two biometric identifyers on a RFID chip.

The section for enterprises was won by Lidl (at close range to Carrefour) for having installed 65 video cameras for the surveillance of 60 employees in a store. The company has had similar policies in other countries as well.

EU Visa Database under scrutiny of the European Data Protection

2 February, 2006
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In a public opinion from 20 January 2006, Mr. Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, was very critical about the wide access possibilities the European Commission wanted to give to the new Visa Information System. The Commission published its "Proposal for a Council Decision concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS)" on 24 November 2005.

VIS will be a central database of all visa applications for most EU countries. The database will be connected to national systems that can be accessed by consulates and similar competent authorities within the Member States.

Mr. Hustinx thinks the Commission pays considerable attention to data protection, but he stresses that access must be granted only under specific circumstances, on a case-by-case basis and with strict safeguards.

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