Israel Pursues Biometric Database Requiring Facial Recognition, Fingerprints for All IDs

Debate over the biometrics program has lasted years and included multiple extensions of a pilot program which has taken in a sizable portion, though still a minority, of the country’s citizens.

JERUSALEM – Israel’s interior minister, Arye Deri, is supporting the push to mandate the joining of the national biometric database, including taking fingerprints and facial recognition pictures for all identity cards, according to a news report.

Still to be determined is whether Deri can gather a majority in the Knesset to make the requirement law, the Jerusalem Post reports. Every recent interior minister has supported the initiative, even as privacy rights advocates and some cyber experts have opposed it for fear of rampant hacking threats and invasion of privacy.

The debate has lasted years and included multiple extensions of a pilot program which has taken in a sizable portion, though still a minority, of the country’s citizens, according to the newspaper.


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Israelis who object to taking part in the database would still have their fingerprints and facial recognition picture taken, but it would only be connected to their ID smart card, not placed in the database. As a penalty of sorts, they would be required to renew their ID cards every five years instead of every 10 years.

The Movement for Digital Rights has vowed to continue fighting the initiative in the Knesset and even to petition the High Court of Justice to block making fingerprinting and facial recognition required if the Knesset passes the initiative into law, according to the newspaper.

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