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Israeli government extends biometric database pilot until February 28


The Knesset has extended Israel’s biometric database pilot program until February 28, in light that the program will likely be approved, albeit with a few revisions, according to a report by The Jerusalem Post.

Until now, obtaining a biometric card required citizens to submit their personal photo and a fingerprint to be stored in a national biometric database.

After February 28, citizens will have the choice of entering their fingerprint into the database, as the result of significant petitioning by the Movement for Digital Rights.

Acting Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman Uri Maklev said the final draft of the law should also include an option for those citizens who have already submitted their fingerprint to have it from the card.

Since the pilot program was first announced, there has been a significant backlash from citizens and politicians alike regarding privacy rights.

Many are concerned about the possibility of a national database making citizens more vulnerable to new forms of identity and personal information theft.

The controversy has resulted in several extensions of the pilot program, which has included a small population of citizens.

Last month, Interior Minister Arye Deri called for all Israeli citizens to obtain a mandatory biometric identity card, with their fingerprint and photo stored on a national digital database.

In one proposal for the final bill, any citizens who are opposed to the program would still have their fingerprint and photo on the new smart card, but their information would not be stored in the database.

However, these citizens would be required to renew their ID cards every five years instead of every 10 years.

Digital Rights Movement director Nir Hirshman said he will continue to oppose the initiative in the Knesset as well as to petition the High Court of Justice to prevent any form of database from being implemented.

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