April 13, 2015 -
Israel Interior Minister Gilad Erdan is presenting legislation to enforce a mandatory national biometric identification system, according to a report by Israel National News.
Initially passed by the Knesset in December 2009, the Biometric Database Law mandates the collection of fingerprints and facial images from all Israeli residents, as well as integrating these biometric details in domestic ID cards and national passports.
The legislation also called for the creation of a biometric government database for the purpose of managing access control, identification of individuals and to help law enforcement officials locate criminal suspects.
The law is intended to curb identity theft, as well as the loss, theft and destruction of the current blue ID cards issued by the Interior Ministry.
In a report submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office and to the Knesset Chairman, Erdan emphasized the importance of implementing the biometric system and said the transition would be gradual.
“Smart biometric records that cannot be faked […] will lead to the full protection of the identity of Israeli citizens,” Erdan told Channel 10. “It will provide a balance between our duty to ensure the security of citizens and our duty to protect their privacy. We will promote a gradual transition to mandatory biometric documentation.”
The first phase of the biometric identification system was implemented in June 2013, and since then, some 640,000 people have volunteered to submit their biometric details to the database, said Erdan.