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Turkey’s domestically-developed biometric data system becomes operational

Turkey’s domestically-developed biometric data system becomes operational

The centralized National Biometric Data Management System has gone live locally and nationally, announced Turkey’s Minister of Internal Affairs. It will replace any systems developed by foreign companies.

The minister, Süleyman Soylu, took to Twitter to say the biometric system has reached the implementation stage, with over 45,000 sets of fingerprints captured so far, according to a translation by Google.

Turkish-language local media coverage, such as Defence Turk, reports that Turkey is the seventh country in the world to develop and release its own biometric data system.

The grand plan is to bring all of Turkey’s biometric data together via the National Biometric Data System and National Biometric Data Center under the auspices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, states Defence Turk.

Starting with fingerprint scanning, other biometrics will be added such as palm prints, face recognition, voice and iris recognition. The system is developed by local firm Biyoteksan, with engineering support from Havelsan, and includes algorithms for both biometric authentication and identification.

The first users of the centralized, digitized biometric system are linked to the Ministry of Interior, the General Directorate of Migration Management, the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs, the General Directorate of Security, the Gendarmerie General Command and Coast Guard Command, according to the report.

Locally developed fingerprint scanning and databases have been available to the General Directorate of Migration Management for some time and have been in use for collecting millions of fingerprints of Syrian refugees and checking the fingerprints of people intercepted in border areas.

Biometrics are also required for Turkish visa applications.

However, a law firm wrote as the calendar turned to 2022 that the Turkish Data Protection Board has pointed out that “even though biometric data is regulated as one of the special categories of data per Article 6 of the Law No. 6698 on Protection of Personal Data, the concept has not been defined by domestic regulation as of yet,” in an article available on Mondaq.

EU funding earmarked for Turkey is also pending in part due to the protection of personal data.

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