EFF Warns Of Big Brother Biometrics Time Bomb

Sunday, March 11, 2012
By Paul Martin


The passing of a new law in France paving the way for a biometric database and requiring all citizens to carry a biometric ID card is a time bomb for civil liberties, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has warned.

On Tuesday, the French National Assembly passed a law for the creation of a national biometric database, ostensibly to fight identity fraud.

However, the EFF warns that biometric databases pose a mission-creep threat since the data can be used for reasons beyond identity fraud.

It points out that governments are increasingly demanding storage of citizens’ biometric data on chips embedded into identity cards or passports and centrally held on government databases, with little regard to citizens’ civil liberties.

The new laws compel the creation of an ID card that will contain information such as fingerprints, photograph, home address, height and eye colour. New passports will also contain the chip.

A second, optional chip will be created for online authentication for e-government services and e-commerce.

EFF points out that France doesn’t have a good track record for protecting biometric information – last year, the French government confirmed that 10pc of biometric passports in circulation were fraudulently obtained.

The EFF describes the new law as invasive and could bring undue interference into people’s lives.

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