Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Fingerprint All Six Year Olds"

According to the Observer:

British children, possibly as young as six, will be subjected to compulsory fingerprinting under European Union rules being drawn up in secret. The prints will be stored on a database which could be shared with countries around the world.

The prospect has alarmed civil liberties groups who fear it represents a 'sea change' in the state's relationship with children and one that may lead to juveniles being erroneously accused of crimes. Under laws being drawn up behind closed doors by the European Commission's 'Article Six' committee, which is composed of representatives of the European Union's 25 member states, all children will have to attend a finger-printing centre to obtain an EU passport by June 2009 at the latest....

....The use of fingerprints and other biometric data is designed to prevent passport fraud and allow European member states to meet US entry visa requirements, but the decision to fingerprint children has disturbed human rights groups.

Statewatch puts it more strongly:

EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible

- "scanning of fingerprints: up to 12 years of age.. if provided for by national legislation... from 12 years of age: Compulsory" (EU doc no: 9403/1/06)

I'm rather surprised that nobody else has blogged about this yet. Having secure passports may be a better idea than compulsory ID cards. But it's being arranged in secret, with the ostensible purpose of allowing six-year-olds to travel to the USA. (I'm forty-seven and haven't been there yet)

Seems darn suspicious to my liberal instincts. Governments seem to have the idea that our identities belong to them., and that whatever privacy they grant us is at their discretion.


Trevor said...

I find that quite disturbing especially after all the doubts that have been cast on the Scottish Fingerprint Service by the Shirley McKie case. I am surprised it has not had more publicity as your blog is the first I had heard of it.

Roger Owen Green said...

I had not heard this, being in the States, but I think you're right to be suspicious. If such a bill were proposed here, though, I fear the hue and cry from the civil libertarians might be outweighed by those people who will buy whatever our country demands in the guise of "homeland security".

Kim Ayres said...

But hey, the innocent have nothing to fear right? It's only to protect us all from terrorists and child molestors, isn't it.

I mean, those in charge have our best interests at heart don't they. They'd never abuse that power.

In fact I think I said something along those lines in my latest post...

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