EU Parliament approves unified biometric and biographic database of 350 million people

The European Union Parliament has voted to approve the Common Identity Repository (CIR) to aggregate the biographic and biometric data of some 350 million EU citizens and visitors for border control and law enforcement use, ZDNet reports.

The unified system takes in the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, the Visa Information System (VIS), and three new databases. The European Criminal Records System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN), Entry/Exit System (EES), and European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). The CIR rules for border and visa checks and for law enforcement use passed EU Parliament in two separate votes, each receiving more than 75 percent approval.

Biometrics included in the databases are fingerprints and facial images. The purpose of the integration is to enable border control and law enforcement officers to perform searches more quickly.

The European Council endorsed a mandate to create the two regulations to make the various systems interoperable in June, 2018. Civil liberties advocacy group Statewatch warned last May that the proposed integration is a “point of no return,” quoting the European Data Protection Supervisor, who said in April the change represents a departure from the way relevant legal principles have previously been interpreted (PDF).

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