US citizens and Non-EU citizens will soon be asked to participate in facial, iris and fingerprint recognition upon arrival at six major European airports.
The program is part of the EU’s Smart Borders initiative, implemented back in October to make it easier for frequent foreigner passengers, as well as to monitor third-country nationals crossing the borders.
At the beginning, biometric identification process would be voluntary, but there are plans in place to eventually make it a mandatory security measure.
According to a draft internal EU document, pilots will begin in March and run until September.
The program includes Arlanda (Sweden), Charles de Gaulle (France), Frankfurt (Germany), Lisbon (Portugal), Madrid (Spain), and Schiphol (Netherlands) as participating airports. Nevertheless, since the document is still in its draft stage, it is possible that these locations may change.
It is expected that Frankfurt and Schiphol will request between four to 10 fingerprint sets. The airport of Madrid will ask for four and Charles de Gaulle eight.
Arlanda, Charles de Gaulle, and Madrid airports will request facial image-captures from disembarking passengers, the Lisbon airport is also set to conduct iris recognition.
The new biometric screening process will include road, train, and sea routes. Biometric authentication based on iris pattern will also be conducted on roads leading into border towns Udvar in Hungary and Sculeni in Romania, whereas other border towns will ask for fingerprints, including roads leading into Kipoi Evrou in Greece and Vaalimaa in Finland.
The rules state that biometric data must be depersonalized, saved locally, and then deleted after analysis, while the biometric data should only be retained long enough to “produce the relevant statistics and analysis.”
The pilot will be run by eu-LISA, which is an EU agency that manages large-scale information systems used by border guards and law enforcement, is running the pilot.