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D3.6: Study on ID Documents

Legal Grounds for ID Documents in Europe  Title:
 Overview of Legal Instruments


Machine-Readable Identity Documents with Biometrical Data in the EU Legal Framework.



With computers being able to recognise faces, fingerprints, irises, DNA sequences, human language and other body-related aspects, society has gained a powerful tool to verify an individual’s identity and thus to ensure the maintenance of a certain required level of security. Development of biometric technology is no longer in an embryonic stage, but has become the core of national and international security and immigration policies and is gaining importance as a market product for the private sector.

The use of biometrics is not without risk. Biometric technology incorporated in machine-readable documents allows for enhanced surveillance; theft of biometrical data, unique by nature, might be far more detrimental for the person concerned then loss of other personal data (Prins 1998, 159). It is therefore important that the legal consequences of the development and deployment of biometric identification and authentication methods and deployment of machine-readable travel documents be considered.  

In chapter we will give an overview of current European initiatives regarding machine-readable documents with biometrics: Eurodac (the EU central fingerprint database in connection with asylum seekers), the Visa Information System (VIS - the EU central database set up to create a common visa policy) and the European Passport (requiring fingerprints and facial images as biometrical identifiers). The scope of each (draft) Regulation will be described with a focus on the privacy, security and data protection requirements laid down in the Regulations.

The chapter will contain an overview of European data protection (Directive 95/46) and the European human rights framework. The scope of these frameworks will be shortly explained and further linked with the provisions in the Regulations.

In the chapter we will critically analyse the Regulations for Eurodac, for VIS and for the European Passport; Regulations that all rely on the body as a ‘document’ or a ‘tool’ for identification. Hereto, we will discuss i) the choice for biometrics as such as a tool for identification and verification, ii) the underlying legal framework for the laws establishing Eurodac, the VIS and the European Passports and travel documents; iii) the validity of the Eurodac, VIS and European Passport in light of the principles of proportionality, finality and individual participation, and, iv) the issue of a central biometrical database.



Legal Grounds for ID Documents in Europe  fidis-wp3-del3.6.study_on_id_documents_03.sxw  Overview of Legal Instruments
Denis Royer 19 / 56