Knesset Passes Biometric Database Law

YERUSHALAYIM -

After years of discussion, debate and pilot programs, on Monday evening the Knesset approved final readings of a biometric database law by a vote of 39–29. The law creates a national database containing identity card numbers, passport information and facial recognition data, but not fingerprint data.

The law was passed over opposition from the Movement for Digital Rights, which objected that sensitive personal information would become vulnerable to hackers, constituting a violation of privacy rights. Proponents of the measure say that critics exaggerate the danger of the database being hacked.

A troubling increase in forged identity cards led the Knesset to authorize a pilot program for a new identity cards system in 2009 and has authorized tests of the database since August 2011.