The European Parliament has consented to the creation of a biometric database containing data on citizens of the European Union and outside the EU. The database consists of a series of connected systems for border control, migration and law enforcement, and needs to be searchable.

The new database is named Common Identity Repository (CIR), writes ZDNet. The aim is to collect data on more than 350 million people. CIR collects both identity data – such as names, dates of birth and passport numbers – and biometric data, such as fingerprints and face scans. The data must be made available to all border checks and law enforcement agencies.

CIR was approved by the European Parliament last Monday, in two separate votes. The CIR rules for border checks and visas were adopted by 511 votes to 123. The rules on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration were adopted by 510 votes to 130.

Merging systems

The main purpose of the database is to simplify the jobs of the police and border control. They will soon be able to search through a unified system much more quickly, instead of having to search through separate databases.

“The system covered by the new rules includes the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, the Visa Information System (VIS) and three new systems: the European Criminal Records System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TNC), the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS),” said EU officials.

The European Parliament and the European Council promised to implement “good safeguards”, to protect the right to privacy of citizens and to regulate access to data.

Plans

The EU already announced last year that it has plans to create a shared biometric database. Since then, there has also been criticism from privacy advocates, who call the creation of CIR a “point of no return” in the area of a “Big Brother centralized EU state database”.

Once CIR is developed and running, it becomes one of the largest databases in the world that follows people. The Chinese government’s systems and India’s Aadhar system are the only ones that are larger. In the United States, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the FBI have similar biometric databases.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.