An Open Letter to the European Parliament on Biometric Registration of all EU Citizens and Residents

An Open Letter to the European Parliament on Biometric Registration of all EU Citizens and Residents:

To the Members of the European Parliament,

We the undersigned are calling on you to reject the ‘Draft Council
Regulation on standards for security features and biometrics in passports
and travel documents issued by Member States’. This is an unnecessary and
rushed policy that will have hazardous effects on Europeans’ right to
privacy. This policy process requires additional oversight, and the
eventual systems established will require significant controls and a strong
legal framework to ensure that this is a proportionate response to the war
on terrorism. In particular, we call for the removal of the requirement for
fingerprinting all EU citizens.

We are quite alarmed by the political dynamics at play in this policy

o The Council of the European Union pressed the European Parliament into
including the Coelho reports on biometric identifiers on the agenda for the
mini-session on Wednesday, 1 December 2004.

o Behind closed doors on October 25 the Justice and Home Affairs Council
decided to introduce mandatory fingerprinting for all EU citizens into the
draft regulation.

o The Parliament’s response to this significant shift in policy is even
more alarming: a majority of the Presidents of the Political Groups
acccepted the claim that the change was not sufficient grounds for the
report to be sent back to the LIBE Committee for further consideration.

o If the Presidents had refused to accept, the Council would have called
for an urgency procedure.

o If the Presidents had refused, the Council would have also delayed the
introduction of the co-decision procedure for immigration and asylum issues
to April 1 instead of January 1.

These dynamics are irresponsible and unhealthy for a functioning democratic

Securing our passports from fraudulent use is indeed a pressing need,
particularly considering the substantial number of blank passports lost
every year. The proposed policy that is being presented to you for review
will however have significant implications. This policy is dependent on an
unprepared and under-developed technological infrastructure. It will
therefore lead to an increased risk of abuse.

We are calling on the European Parliament to reject this policy. The
European Parliament needs to provide sunlight to this policy process
through oversight and an open deliberative process.

We are calling on the European Parliament to reject this policy. The case
still has not been made openly and clearly as to why biometric passports
are required. There is a lack of adequate safeguards. We urge the
Parliament to oppose the creation of an EU-wide database of personal data.
We further urge the Parliament to oppose mandatory fingerprinting as an
unnecessary and disproportionate act. Finally, we are calling on the
Parliament to reserve the right to question the legal basis of the proposal.



Gus Hosein – Privacy International

Tony Bunyan – Statewatch

Andreas Dietl – European Digital Rights


Go there! Sign!


1 Comment so far

  1. nex (unregistered) on December 4th, 2004 @ 4:12 am

    “Go there! Sign!”

    I’d love to, but where’s the form? Couldn’t find it :-(

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