Europe is creating one of Earth’s largest biometric databases
The European Parliament voted in favour of a system that would streamline its systems for managing a variety of programs, including travel and border security via a singular database.
The system, called the Common Identity Repository (CIR), would streamline a number of functions, including the ability for officials to search a single database instead of multiple databases, with shared biometric data like fingerprints and images of faces.
The system would also have a repository of personally identifying information, such as date of birth, passport numbers and more.
According to ZDNet, CIR is one of the largest tracking databases on the planet and will amass the records of more than 250 million people into a single database. It will contain identifying information on both citizens and non-citizens of the EU.
Politico Europe has said that the new system “will grant officials access to a person’s verified identity with a single fingerprint scan.”
The European Parliament has released a statement on the new system, saying that it “will make EU information systems used in security, border and migration management interoperable enabling data exchange between the systems.”
“Without changing access rights or endangering the data protection rules that govern them, interoperability will ensure faster, more systematic and more complete access to EU information systems for professionals on the ground: police officers, border guards, migration officers and consulate staff members, in order for them to do their job better,” Rapporteur Jeroen Lenaers (EPP, NL) said in a statement at the time.
“Better decisions can be made on the basis of better information.”
However, the new system has raised large privacy concerns. A European Commission official told Politico Europe that they didn’t “think anyone understands what they’re voting for”.