Participation picks up for Israel’s biometric database program

Two hundred-thousand Israelis have applied for biometric identity cards or ePassports, following last year’s launch of a biometric database pilot program in the Middle Eastern country.

According to a report in the Yeshiva World News, officials have said that more than 50% of the visitors to ministry offices come looking to opt in for biometrics.

Under the system, applicants are photographed and have their fingerprint scanned in to the system.

Starting in a year and a half, the government will also launch an online portal for holders of biometric cards to access government services.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, the initiation of the biometric database project has been a long process in Israel. Parliament first started talking about the database in 2009 and a trial was set to begin in 2013, though there were a number of issues and delays which saw this launch date pushed further into 2013.

Among the delays, the Israel High Court of Justice held a hearing on a petition seeking the annulment of a law that would establish a governmental biometric database. In the hearing, Justices voiced harsh criticism of the government’s preparation 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.

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