FB pixel

EU opts for ‘pragmatic approach’ on negotiations with US over biometric data sharing

EU opts for ‘pragmatic approach’ on negotiations with US over biometric data sharing

The President of the Council of the European Union said in a recent note that the Commission had opted for a “pragmatic approach” to respond to certain delays in the negotiation process between EU member states and the United States over plans to introduce new requirements for the latter’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

The U.S. said last year that it wants to set up what it calls an Enhanced Border Security Partnership (EBSP) with countries participating in the VWP. As part of the plan, VWP participating countries will be obliged to share their biometric databases with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for purposes of immigration screening and other identity vetting processes.

Since then, there has been some work within the EU Council and discussions and negotiations on the matter are being pursued at different levels. Technical discussions and regular briefings have also taken place, according to the note published by Statewatch, a group that monitors state and civil liberties in Europe.

The pragmatic approach, according to the note, means “to dissociate information exchange from issues linked to visa policy,” when EU member states engage with the U.S. on “bilateral negotiations.”

The Commission also suggests that “considering the continuous and systematic transfers envisaged by the U.S.,” negotiations should also be based on “an international agreement or administrative arrangement ensuring sufficient data protection safeguards.”

While the President notes that the level of coordination of the discussions so far is positive, the Commission underlines the need for further regular meetings and briefings, as well as exchange of views on the possible next steps to take.

In the meantime, as discussions and consultations continue to find common ground on the EBSP, rights groups have raised issues about a lack of transparency in the negotiations. The major concerns have been about data privacy and security.

Statewatch has questioned why the EU and some of its member countries are planning to share biometrics with the U.S. when it is known not to have proper safeguards for the data of non-citizens.

“The EU’s own top court has ruled on multiple occasions that the USA does not offer adequate privacy protections for non-citizens, yet the Commission and the member states are planning to open up their biometric databases to the Department of Homeland Security and, by extension, who knows how many other US agencies? The fact that discussions on the plan are taking place in secret makes it all the more galling, albeit entirely unsurprising,” says Statewatch’s Director Chris Jones in a statement.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News


The UK’s election may spell out the future of its national ID cards

Identity cards are back among the UK’s top controversial topics – thanks to the upcoming elections and its focus on…


Challenges in face biometrics addressed with new tech and research amid high stakes

Big biometrics contracts and deals were the theme of several of the stories on that drew the most interest from…


Online age verification debates continue in Canada, EU, India

Introducing age verification to protect children online remains a hot topic across the globe: Canada is debating the Online Harms…


Login.gov adds selfie biometrics for May pilot

America’s single-sign on system for government benefits and services, Login.gov, is getting a face biometrics option for enhanced identity verification…


BIPA one step closer to seeing its first major change since 2008 inception

On Thursday, a bipartisan majority in the Illinois Senate approved the first major change to Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…


Identity verification industry mulls solutions to flood of synthetic IDs

The advent of AI-powered generators such as OnlyFake, which creates realistic-looking photos of fake IDs for only US$15, has stirred…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read From This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events