The European Parliament has approved a new electronic system to store biometric information on all non-EU citizens travelling in and out of the bloc – and post-Brexit, this could include British citizens.
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The entry/exit system (EES) is part of the so-called Smart Borders package, and will consist of a central database storing the name, travel document, fingerprints, facial image, date and place of entry, exit and entry refusal of every third-country national – even visa-exempt travellers – coming to and from the EU Schengen area.
The data will be retained for at least three years – or five years for over-stayers – and will be accessible to border, visa and national enforcement authorities, as well as Europol, but not national asylum authorities.
The aim is to reduce irregular migration of over-stayers and fight organised crime, as well as speeding up border checks by replacing the manual stamping of passports. Data stored in the EES can be consulted to prevent, detect or investigate terrorist offences or other serious criminal offences.
Finnish MEP Jussi Halla-aho said: “Much of the data collected by the system could be vital in the fight against organised crime and terrorism – it’s crucial that national police forces and Europol will now have access to the data.”
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