Plans to archive voters’ fingerprints for use across government agencies

Parliament will soon debate —  a Bill to amend the Representation of the People Act 2003 as the government seeks to incorporate a system for capturing, digitising and archiving citizens’ fingerprints during the electoral process.

According to the Minister of Information Melford Nicholas, the amendment at present is primarily to facilitate the new policy of incorporating fingerprints into the

biometric data that will be contained in the new microchipped e-passports being produced by the Canadian Banknote Company.

“This was not part of the original feature…but the Cabinet felt it was important to be able to go that extra step to be able to ensure that when an individual is issued with a passport…their identity can be vouched for and there can be no compromise,” Nicholas said.

Nicholas said it was due to the way in which the Act was crafted that “consideration was not given for the capture of the fingerprint information” but argued that when voters submit their print “it’s a resource that can have multi-use potential”.

He added that besides use in passports the government had other applications for fingerprint records which he said could form part of the state’s own Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).

“We can have that same fingerprinting information supporting crime prevention and crime management for access by the police,” Nicholas said.

An AFIS is a biometric identification (ID) methodology that uses digital imaging technology to obtain, store, and analyse fingerprint data.

 

(More in today’s Daily Observer)