A new position paper published today by the European Digital Rights (EDRi) network calls for MEPs to oppose plans to create an EU-wide police facial recognition system that may, in the future, also include the UK.

The Prüm II proposal seeks to expand data-sharing between member states and Europol, and covers particularly sensitive forms of personal data.

It would build upon an existing data-sharing network, known as Prüm, that interlinks national DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration databases in the EU and the UK. Law enforcement officials can search one another’s systems and, in case of a match, request that the state responsible send them the data in question.

Under the proposal, the network would require the interconnection of facial image databases and, on a voluntary basis, “police records”. The Council would also like to make driving licence data accessible through the network, including the facial images stored in relation to driving licences.

Early discussions on the plans also raised the possibility of opening up other civil identity databases for cross-border searches – for example, on passports or identity cards – but this possibility does not currently appear to be on the table.

Even so, the proposal seeks to massively extend police powers, as explained in detail in a new briefing published today by European Digital Rights (EDRi), which Statewatch helped to co-author alongside EDRi staff and member organisations: Access Now, Digital Society (Switzerland), Državljan D (Citizen D, Slovenia), the European Center for Not-for-profit Law (ECNL), the IT-Political Association of Denmark (IT-Pol).

Read the full article and access the position paper here: European police facial recognition system must be halted, warns new paper