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European Data Protection Supervisor questions biometric entry/exit system proposal


The European Data Protection Supervisor has just published a scathing response to a proposed biometrics entry and exit system for travellers in the EU, arguing there is much to be worried about, including cost, access to data and necessity.

In February, the European Commission proposed the biometric entry and exit system, as itnews.au reports. In 2008, the commission began working on automated systems to track visa-exempt travelers, relying on eGates, rather than the existing stamp system.

According to the itnews report, the EDPS has voiced particular concern over the necessity of an entry/exit system requiring ten prints, and also the level of access law enforcement would have to the data, as well as data-sharing outside of the EU.

“The EDPS would also like to draw attention to the Australian Movement Reconstruction database which could represent an alternative on how a similar system could work based only on alphanumeric data,” the report states, steering clear of a biometrics-based system.

The debate around a biometric entry and exit system as well as immigration in the United States is also on-going.

Reported previously, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a biometric exit system at 30 of the largest airports in the country.

Although the system passed for these 30 large airports, the committee recently rejected a similar proposal which sought to introduce an exit system at all land, air and sea ports before immigrants could begin to receive legal status.

According to a report in the Washington Post, some U.S. Democrats said they support the establishing of a biometric system, though cost remains an issue, as estimates suggest this overhaul could cost several billion dollars and slow the implementation of immigration reforms.

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