The passing of a new law in France paving the way for a biometric database and requiring all citizens to carry a biometric ID card is a time bomb for civil liberties, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has warned.
On Tuesday, the French National Assembly passed a law for the creation of a national biometric database, ostensibly to fight identity fraud. However, the EFF warns that biometric databases pose a mission-creep threat since the data can be used for reasons beyond identity fraud.
It points out that governments are increasingly demanding storage of citizens' biometric data on chips embedded into identity cards or passports and centrally held on government databases, with little regard to citizens' civil liberties.
The new laws compel the creation of an ID card that will contain information such as fingerprints, photograph, home address, height and eye colour. New passports will also contain the chip.
A second, optional chip will be created for online authentication for e-government services and e-commerce.
EFF points out that France doesn't have a good track record for protecting biometric information - last year, the French government confirmed that 10pc of biometric passports in circulation were fraudulently obtained.
The EFF describes the new law as invasive and could bring undue interference into people's lives.
It also warns the passing of the law is disproportionate and one motive could be to prop up French smart card and biometrics companies who have been lobbying heavily for the creation of a biometric ID card.
“History has shown that databases in France created for one purpose have been used for others: In 1998, for example, France created a national DNA database of sex offenders, but its scope was expanded to include data from those convicted of other serious violent criminal offences and terrorism. The database was later expanded to include the data of those who committed a wide range of offences. Anyone suspected of any crime is now compelled to submit a DNA sample, as well.
“Moreover, the measure is non-proportionate, given that there are less than 10,000 annual instances of fraudulent identity documents reported in France. It is difficult to argue that this justifies fingerprinting and face digitisation of an estimated 45m individuals and storing this information in a central biometric database," the EFF railed. -Source
Fijians to carry ID cards
People living in Fiji will need to carry a compulsory identity card containing all their personal details under a proposal revealed by military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama.
Fiji has been under military rule since a coup in 2006 and has seen an increasing militarisation of life.
Bainimarama has now created a National Intelligence Agency and was briefed by Minister of Defence and National Security officials, including Colonel Joji Washington, who told him the new card "would contain critical personal information of an individual....
"The card, which is to be issued by the ministry, will enhance passenger profiling clearance, detection of illicit activities', assist in police investigations, and facilitate public service output," the government statement said.
"It will also be a primary form of national security."
Washington said the card would strengthen the work of law enforcement, immigration, customs, bio security, border police, airport security, airline security, port security and outsourced security personnel.
"The prototype national ID will contain a micro chip containing personal bio data, picture, fingerprint, passport system, ID number, UID number machine, barcodes for tin and LTA watch list verification," Washington said.
Children required to get ID card
Abu Dhabi: Children under 15 years of age should register for ID cards as per a new decision of Emirates Identity Authority, a government spokesman told Gulf News on Wednesday.
Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) Director General Dr Ali Al Khoury said: "Now ID card is mandatory for children under 15."
Earlier, registering children with the authority's population register was mandatory, but getting an ID card for them was optional.
"The new decision does not make any extra burden on parents [except a fee] as children can complete the registration at certified typing centres without the need to visit the authority's registration centres," he said.
Parents must spend Dh120 per child for the card. Previously, adding a child to the population register was free and the ID card was optional, for a Dh50 fee.
Vecer, Macedonia: Only biometric identity cards to be valid as of February 27, 2012
Skopje. The old identity cards in Macedonia will be valid until next Monday, reports the local daily Vecer.
The Interior Ministry says it will not extend the deadline for obtaining a new identity document, because it has been extended twice so far. All citizens are required to have a new identity card holding their biometric data so that they could get a document from a state body or go to a bank office. -Source