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EU advisory board on biometric data sharing with UK: Not so fast, please



The European Parliament has refused to sign any fingerprint-sharing agreement with the United Kingdom unless the agreement binds both sides uniformly and data is sufficiently protected.

Voting down a draft measure proposed by the European Union Council, parliament members urged the EU Council to hold off on an agreement with London rather than risk misuse and misappropriation of EU residents’ data. Just as contentious, it is possible that sharing could become a one-way transaction, with the UK refusing to reciprocate exchange rules.

The parliament cannot dictate to the council, only advise.

The vote was tight — 357 against, 329 for and four abstentions — given the EU’s stridently pro-privacy stance on most digital and internet issues.

In a release, EU states and the UK have agreed to automated fingerprint data exchanges, enabling governments to share the data and to prevent and prosecute crimes. That agreement, however, ends December 31, and there is no guarantee that London would abide by it after that date.

The release states that the draft measure says, “the UK does not intend to make fingerprint data from suspects’ profiles available… .”

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