Israel’s biometric database pilot test to last two years

January 2, 2013 - 

As soon as 2013 began, so too did Israel’s database test project to collect the biometric data of its citizens, Artuz Sheva reports.

Supporters of the new program suggest this national biometric database will enhance the government’s ability to identify terrorists, whereas critics say this new program will give the country unprecedented access to control the lives of Israelis.

The directive for this pilot program was approved by a joint committee and biometric information in the database will consist of two fingerprints and a face scan and an additional aspect of this program is to issue smart identity cards to those with credentials stored in the database. As we reported previously, minors under the age of 16 will not be included in the testing of this initiative.

This new test program will last for two years and will be voluntary for Israelis to enroll. Once the pilot program is over, the country aims to include all citizens into the centralized database.

There have been years of debate regarding a centralized biometric database in Israel. As reported previously in, the Israel High Court of Justice held a hearing in 2012 on a petition seeking the annulment of a law that would establish a governmental biometric database. In the hearing, Justices voices harsh criticism of the government’s preparations for the pilot program, suggesting the creation of a centralized database is an “extreme” and “harmful” measure and not a necessity to implementing smart ID cards.

A recent Biometrics Research Note suggests the demand for new technology, including smart cards, will broaden the market for residential and commercial security products in the U.S. over the next five years.

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