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Russia to consider bill that calls for mandatory biometric registration of all citizens


MPs from populist Russian nationalist party LDPR have drafted and will soon submit a new bill calling for the mandatory fingerprinting and DNA profiling of all Russian citizens in an effort to increase security measures, according to a report by RT.

Roman Khudyakov, the bill’s main sponsor, previously championed mandatory fingerprinting for the entire urban population of Russia, including visitors and foreigners.

According to the bill, the biometric information would be stored in a central government database and each citizen would be issued a “bio-card” that contained all their details.

The bill also recommends that a special federal agency should be established to oversee the biometric scanning and should report either to the Interior Ministry or to the Federal Security Service.

Khudyakov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that his plan ought to be implemented as soon as possible as he believes it would help benefit law enforcement and the greater society.

He added that the bio-card would replace other forms of identification, and that ordinary Russians should not be concerned about the security of their personal information.

“All information will be protected,” said Khudyakov. “It is like a bank card. We will also toughen the criminal responsibility for officials who have access to the data. When people face three years in prison for leaking the data no one would be tempted to do this.”

Khudyakov recommended that the biometric data could be held by the government for 150 years from the date of collection before being permanently erased. Meanwhile, state agencies could hold on to the biometric cards of the deceased for the same amount of time before disposing of them.

Biometric registration will be available as a paid, optional service for citizens, and by parents for their children. However, it will be mandatory and free for all civil servants, law enforcers, military and security personnel, convicts, firemen, rescuers and individuals applying for a driving license or gun permit.

Additionally, all citizens over the age of 14 who want to travel abroad will be required to undergo biometric scanning procedures, as will all foreigners who arrive in Russia.

Russian law enforcement currently uses the Automated Fingerprint Identification System to store and retrieve data on convicted criminals and military personnel.

In 2010, Russian prosecutor Aleksandr Bastrykin recommended universal and mandatory fingerprinting, but lawmakers soon postponed the decision over concerns of the system’s high costs and legalities.

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