UK signs up to EU fingerprint database

The British government has signed up to a Europe-wide database that collects and stores the fingerprints and personal data of the continent’s asylum seekers.

Known as Eurodac, the database aims to help identify which states are responsible for processing individual applications for asylum. The system is designed to prevent asylum applicants from petitioning multiple countries within the EU bloc.

Eurodac was created to support an EU law known as the Dublin Regulation that determines which member state is obliged to handle a claim for asylum.

"The government are committed to the Dublin system, of which Eurodac is an essential part, as it helps tackle the problem of people abusing asylum systems across Europe by making multiple claims in different EU member states," immigration minister Damian Green told Parliament earlier this week.

"The government will approach forthcoming legislation in the area of justice and home affairs on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting Britain’s civil liberties and enhancing our ability to control immigration," he added.

The Eurodac consists of a centralised database which in addition to asylum applicants’ fingerprints, also collects information on countries of origin, birth dates, and sex from EU member states.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media (now Bonhill Group plc) from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The...

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