European Council receives mandate to develop framework for biometric data interoperability

The Permanent Representatives Committee of the European Council has endorsed a mandate for talks on two regulations to provide a framework for interoperability between systems, including the EU’s biometric matching service and common identity repository, UKAuthority reports. The plan is expected to improve the interoperability of security systems to improve checks at internal EU borders and combat illegal migration.

The regulation will enable authorities to search and share fingerprints and facial images across several systems, and will also link agency systems with the European search portal and a multiple identity detector which will flag multiple identities associated with a single set of biometrics.

“The proposed regulations aim to improve security within the EU, make checks at external borders more effective and efficient, and prevent and combat illegal migration,” said Bulgaria’s Minister of Interior Valentin Radev. “Interoperability between information systems will allow the systems to complement each other, help facilitate the correct identification of persons and contribute to fighting identity fraud.”

The systems that the interoperability standards will be applied to include the Entry-Exit System, Visa Information System, European Travel Information and Authorisation System, the Schengen Information System, and the European Criminal Records Information System for Third Country Nationals. Europol data and some travel document databases operated by Interpol will also be included.

One the mandate is adopted by the European Parliament, it can begin negotiation with the council presidency, which is currently held by Bulgaria.

In April, the European Commission proposed that all identity cards for EU citizens be required to include biometrics to reduce document fraud by criminals and extremists.

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