EU Commission proposes common security standards for biometric IDs

EPA / PAUL ZINKEN

A police officer presents an Italian Identity card in front of a selection of German passports during a news conference at the State Office of Criminal Investigations of Berlin, March 10, 2015.

EU Commission proposes common security standards for biometric IDs


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The European Commission is stepping up its efforts to curb document fraud by improving and unifying the ID characteristics of the Member States via a two-year campaign that will phase out documents that do not contain biometric data.

An estimated 80 million Europeans currently possess non-biometric ID cards that can easily be copied or compromised. Brussels hopes to curb the use of fraudulent documents that can be used by terrorists and criminals after the outbreak of the migration crisis in 2015.

According to the European Commission’s proposal, the Member States will have to obey common security standards in line with the existing minimum framework as spelt by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Biometric data will be mandatory for Member States that have ID cards. EU ID cards for anyone over 12 years-old and non-EU family members’ residence cards will also include biometric data, such as fingerprints and facial images.

Once the European Parliament approves the proposal the Member States that rely on paper IDs, including Italy and Greece, will have two years to convert to biometric cards.  The members of the bloc that already have digitally readable cards will have five years to update their formats, the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said while responding to reporters in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

The European Commission has also proposed that any Member State that does not issue new national IDs to its citizens will be obliged to do so while also upgrading the security features of existing ID cards.

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