Despite protests by privacy groups, Israel will begin amassing biometric data on its citizens beginning Tuesday. The pilot program for the biometric database will greatly enhance the ability of authorities to identify terrorists, supporters of the project say – while those opposed believe that the program will give the state unprecedented opportunity to control the lives of Israelis.
The test program, which will continue for two years, will be voluntary. Israelis 16 and older who live in Ashdod, Petach Tikvah, and Kfar Sava will be asked if they want their fingerprints, a high resolution photo, and other information in a database that will be accessible to security forces, the courts, and, in some circumstances, police.
The law authorizing establishment of the database was passed in 2009, with the most enthusiastic supporter MK Meir Sheetrit, now number 5 on Tzippy Livni's Hatnua list. Several human rights and privacy groups have filed numerous petitions against the project with the High Court. The court ordered the limited test program, and plans to review the program, and its impact, after the test period.