Chris Jones

Researcher and journalist based in London

Politico Europe: EU on the verge of approving giant biometric database for migrants

The European Union is about to become a lot safer — at least on paper.

Lawmakers are set to approve plans for an enormous new database that will collect biometric data on almost all non-EU citizens in Europe’s visa-free Schengen area. The database — merging previously separate systems tracking migration, travel and crime — will grant officials access to a person’s verified identity with a single fingerprint scan.

The question, say the plan’s critics, is whether it truly represents an improvement to safety — and whether it adequately takes into account concerns about civil liberties and privacy.

EU pushes to link tracking databases (Politico, 16 April 2019)

An article Caitlin Chandler and I wrote together, with extra research and reporting by Petra Sorge and Ludovica Jona. It looks at the EU's "interoperability" plans that aim to interconnect a selection of vast databases and information systems. Despite their huge implications, the proposals managed to get through the institutions both very swiftly and without much fuss.

The issue isn't going away - now there's multi-million euro contracts to be signed, implementing legislation to be passed, and various other schemes to be hatched by national interior ministries and the Commission's home affairs directorate. Keep your eyes peeled.

Image: emeraldschell, public domain

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