Leaked Report Reveals Europol Mulls Creating Pan-European Facial Recognition Network Amid Fears US May Join

Europe

Back in 2005, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain signed the Prum Convention which allowed the signatories to exchange suspects’ DNA, fingerprints, and vehicle registration data in a move designed to combat terrorism.

The Intercept investigative non-profit news organization has cited a report obtained from an unnamed European official as saying that the EU is mulling creating a network of national police facial recognition databases.

According to the leaked report, police forces from 10 EU members led by Austria want the introduction of the bloc’s legislation for interconnecting facial recognition databases in every EU member state.

The report was part of efforts to expand the mandate of the EU-wide Prum Convention, which stipulates the sharing of DNA, fingerprint, and vehicle registration databases for mutual searching.

The convention urges Europol to play a role in exchanging facial recognition and other biometric data with non-EU member states, which prompted fears that the planned network would be connected to similar databases in the US.

Preparatory work for the new legislation to greenlight facial recognition network is already under way, The Intercept reported, referring to the European Commission allocating €500,000 ($542,000) to a consortium of public agencies led by the Estonian Forensic Science Institute.

The goal is “to map the current situation of…

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