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EU privacy watchdog criticizes plans for fingerprint database

[JURIST] Proposals put forth by the European Commission [official website] to regulate passports and create a centralized fingerprint database fail to adequately address privacy concerns, the head of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) [official website] said in an opinion letter released Wednesday. Peter Hustinx [official profile, PDF] said the Commission's plans do not adequately address the inherent imperfections of biometric systems, especially the specific concerns regarding children and the elderly. EUObserver has more.

In November 2007, EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini [official profile] introduced a new package of counter terrorism proposals [press release] on behalf of the Commission, which included a call for the implementation [JURIST report] of an EU-wide system for the exchange of passenger name records. Frattini said in September 2007 that the European Commission was moving forward with plans to establish an EU-wide airline passenger data recording system [JURIST report] despite privacy concerns. Also in March 2007, the Commission announced plans to develop a common fingerprint database [JURIST report] that includes data collected from criminals convicted of serious crimes within member states.

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