Commission study identifies key biometric challenges

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Policy makers should start defining the scope of biometric resources now, advises the European Commission in view of the results of a recent study showing that the use of this technology will increase considerably, in the near future, in different areas, transforming based on a common aspect of the daily lives of citizens of the European Union.

The European executive believes that the use of biometrics will contribute to making borders more secure, facilitating the crossing between countries and increasing confidence in identification documents. «The development of such technologies could contribute to the construction of a safer knowledge society», says the Commission in a statement, stressing the need for an approach that joins measures from different areas – security, industry, competition – in order to ensure that Europe reaps all the benefits of community and government initiatives on biometrics.

The study conducted by the EC at the request of the European Parliament also shows that the development and application of biometrics solutions – which include fingerprint recognition or iris reading – pose a number of challenges, particularly with regard to the legal aspects . In this area, the analysis concludes that Member States should establish ways to safeguard privacy and data protection, as well as to control their use and prevent abuse.

With regard to the area of ​​technology, the study warns of the need to conduct more experiments on the ground, in order to ensure the successful adoption of biometric techniques.

The Commission considers it equally important that the process of adopting biometrics is comprehensive and «friendly», minimizing social exclusion. Interoperability is another of the challenges to be addressed and in which Member States, «as customers of the first major application of biometric systems worldwide» will play a major role.

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