This horror comes from the UK’s 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.
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 civil liberties group Statewatch last night accused EU governments of taking decisions in which ‘people and parliaments have no say’. It said the committee’s decisions were simply based on ‘technological possibilities – not on the moral and political questions of whether it is right or desirable.‘
‘This is a sea change,’ said Ben Hayes, spokesman for Statewatch. ‘We are going from fingerprinting criminals to universal fingerprinting without any real debate. In the long term everyone’s fingerprints will be stored on a central database. You have to ask what will be the costs to a person’s privacy.’
According to secret documents obtained by Statewatch, the committee will make it compulsory for all children from the age of 12 to be fingerprinted. However, several of the committee’s member states are lobbying to bring the compulsory age limit down. Sweden tells the committee it ‘could agree with a minimum age of six years for passports’.
A commission spokesman said initially only member states would have access to their citizens’ fingerprint data. However, after the Madrid bombings the commission signalled its intention for all fingerprints to be stored on one database that could one day be accessed by each EU state. ‘Whether access for third countries will be allowed has to be decided by the EC at a later stage,‘ the spokesman said. ‘Nevertheless, full interoperability is ensured, should the EU decide to give access to third countries.’