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France orders biometric tablets, kiosks in prep for EU Entry/Exit System

France orders biometric tablets, kiosks in prep for EU Entry/Exit System

French authorities have placed an order for 544 kiosks and 250 tablets to collect face and fingerprint biometrics from ferry car passengers amid concerns that queues could form for UK passengers traveling to France when the Entry/Exit System (EES) within the European Union goes operational.

The Telegraph alludes to a recent report by France’s “Cours des Comptes,” a government audit institution, which indicates that the system could add up the time required for border checks to be completed as passengers will have to be scanned in front of digital kiosks to authenticate their travel credentials.

Once the EES goes live, the face and fingerprint biometrics of any traveler entering the Schengen area for the first time will have to be collected and stored in a centralized database. Such data will be valid for a duration of three years, EU officials say.

The outlet notes that the fears of queues are fueled by the fact that check time for passengers at France’s borders increased with Eurostar biometric gates after Brexit.

Travel industry stakeholders are calling for the EES to be seamless.

The EES, for a reminder, is an initiative hatched by the EU in 2013 to strengthen border controls among member countries using biometrics technology. Initially previewed to have gone operational in 2022, it has been pushed back for various reasons.

It is now expected that the project could get underway by the end of this year, although they are still hesitations that things may finally get going only after the summer Olympics due to take place in Paris next year.

These EES arrangements come as the EU is already facing accusations of migrants’ right violations with the implementation of its digital border policies dubbed “techno-borders.”

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