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Finland considers using biometrics from civil, travel registries to investigate major crimes

Finland considers using biometrics from civil, travel registries to investigate major crimes

Finland’s Ministry of the Interior is looking into the legality of sharing fingerprint biometric data collected for passports and ID cards with police to help with serious criminal investigations, public broadcaster Yle Uutiset reports.

A 2014 study by the Ministry found that Finnish Parliament’s Constitutional Law Committee considered the use of fingerprints from travel or civil ID documents in criminal investigations impermissible. A 2021 update of legislation on the processing of personal data by law enforcement surfaced the issue again, and the EU’s data protection rules now may have changed the situation, according to Ministry official Suvi Pato-Oja.

An updated examination of the legality of biometric data sharing will also consider the sharing of images for facial recognition.

The examination was called for by Parliament’s Administration Committee, which cited homicide, attempted homicide, kidnapping and sexual offences as examples of crimes for which the step could be considered.

Finnish police support the review, and would like fingerprints collected from foreigners entering the country to also be included in the consultation.

The Interior Ministry’s report is due before the opening of parliament’s autumn session.

Finnish police recently established a centralized policy for data protection practices following a risk assessment on the use of surveillance technologies carried out with the Data Protection Ombudsman.

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