Thursday February 14, 2008
Children as young as six will have to have their fingerprints checked in order to enter or exit the European Union, under radical proposals made by Brussels.
By 2019 all travellers, including children, will be required to enter a closed booth on their own, where their biometric details, stored digitally on microchips in passports, will be checked against their real fingerprints.
Tony Bunyan, of the Statewatch civil liberties group, believes that the next stage of pan-European moves to tighten frontier controls is “a bridge too far”.
“The idea that visitors and possibly EU citizens – including children aged six and above – should enter an enclosed box and be told what to do by machines and for computers to decide whether to let us out or not is a quite appalling proposal,” he said.
The new EU border security proposals herald a culture shock for many and represent a significant advance in the surveillance society.
Currently British passports contain a digital record of an individual’s facial characteristics, which are checked by border guards.