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Fingerprint scans for 7-year-olds? Could happen at EU borders this year

Fingerprint scans for 7-year-olds? Could happen at EU borders this year
 

The popular image of government biometrics is video with CGI framing faces in a crowd and thumbs pressed onto scanners. Opponents of identifier collection tend to see the systems as tools enabling a weapon – deliberate misuse of identifiers.

That has offered the industry a degree of insulation as the public is concerned with motives, policies and laws.

But what if the scanners themselves started to be seen, visibly, as the weapon?

Leaders in the European Union are deliberating new rules for irregular immigration that would mandate, among other provisions, fingerprint scans of everyone as young as seven years at borders. And guards would be able to use “proportionate coercion” to get scans from children who resist.

Anyone 15 years and older must submit to scans now, according to Euractiv, a news service that is 15 percent funded by government. Face biometrics are a less-preferred option.

If images of screaming children, their fingers being pushed onto a scanner by border guards, show up on social media feeds, hardware will become a tangible weapon to opponents. A final vote on the migration pact is expected in April.

One of the rationales cited by pact supporters is that adults are evading border processing by passing as children. Others are fraudulently claiming to be the parents of children to sidestep detention and processing, according to reports.

According to the advocacy International Rescue Committee, 81 civil society organizations want the pact voted down.

The pact also would forcibly detain, without exception, families with children of any age, according to the group. This will put children in a chaotic environment in which assault and rape have occurred, according to press reports.

As of December, writes news publisher Investigate Europe, 11 or more EU states oppose general exemption from immigration proceedings for minors.

Investigate Europe reporting allegedly singles out France and the Netherlands as the most active EU members pushing for harsher regulations, including the proposed law about seven-year-olds at the border.

Swedish officials say they support it because so many other EU members do, according to Investigate Europe.

Germany and a number of smaller economies oppose this hotspot system, as it is called.

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