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European Parliament to trial fingerprint biometric attendance in line with EDPS opinions

European Parliament to trial fingerprint biometric attendance in line with EDPS opinions

The European Parliament will be upgrading its attendance system to use badge scanning and voluntary fingerprint biometrics, according to a document about an administrative meeting seen by EURACTIV.

Members of Parliament will soon be able to use a fingerprint scan to enter plenary sessions, committees, or group meetings, and receive their daily allowance.

Members of the bureau who made the call included 14 vice presidents, the quaestors, and the president of the European Parliament. The bureau held meetings on the proposal last October to discuss the management of sensitive data like biometrics that would comply with recommendations from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).

A fingerprint biometrics time and attendance system was first trialed in Parliament in its Brussels facilities in 2020 after a badge attendance trial ended and was rejected because it did not adequately prove the identity of the badgeholder. The EDPS voiced concerns about the system making fingerprint authentication mandatory.

The EDPS recommended, among other things, a one-to-many data storage system that would allow biometric templates to be updated and canceled to minimize unauthorized access. The service provider said such a system would affect biometric performance and could not be supported by the system.

It also suggested that a one-to-one system that does not store data on the local database of fingerprint readers could also be an option.

The final decision made fingerprint registration optional and ensures the procedure complies with EDPS opinions. The decision will be revised after two years.

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