Eitan: Biometric system a danger to democratic regime

Eitan Biometric system

Government services Minister Michael Eitan said Monday morning that he believes the Biometric Bill, if passed, presents a danger to the democratic regime and is an affront to the right of privacy for each citizen. Without privacy, he said, there is no "autonomy or respect" for the individual. Eitan made the comments in an interview with Israel Radio, ahead of the Knesset vote on the law. According to Eitan, such a data pool is not needed to combat the problem of counterfeit national ID cards or passports. Such pools could be manipulated, he argued, adding that in a democracy the power of the state must have limits. Generally, he said, government infringement on privacy "is done for a legitimate reason," and the biometric cards are not necessary for the police to do their jobs. Furthermore, such a system of information collection in a state tracking people would "change their behavior, and they would live in fear… and suspicion." MK Aryeh Bibi (Kadima), in response to Eitan, told the radio station that the biometric database is needed to combat some 50,000 counterfeit national ID cards and 50,000 fake passports in existence. The police, airport and military all have information pools with data on two million people, he added. The law-abiding citizen, Bibi said, has nothing to fear from the biometric cards. It is the criminal, illegal alien or citizen who transgresses the law, who need to worry about the biometric system. Privacy will be guarded and the system will be closed, he added.