By David Martosko – ReutersFrance’s government is proposing a biometric fee for companies to use when registering biometric fingerprints and biometric services.
The proposal, to be voted on by parliament on Thursday, would be the latest in a string of initiatives aimed at combating fraud and terrorism, but the idea of a fee was already gaining support from civil society.
The fee would cost €2.8 billion ($3.1 billion), but the government has already been criticised by some politicians for failing to tackle fraud and abuse.
Under the proposal, companies would be required to register fingerprints and other biometric samples.
They would also have to pay a fee of 50,000 euros ($59,000) for each such sample.
The new law would apply to biometric biometrics, like fingerprints and face recognition, as well as other biometrical devices, like iris scans and fingerprint readers.
The government has not said what the fee would be for services such as passports and visa applications.
But there are concerns that such fees could deter people from using such services, including by forcing people to choose between the convenience of a fingerprint and the privacy and security of a passport.
“People who use biometrically, are worried about what they’ll do with their identity if they don’t have the necessary biometric service to protect themselves,” said Pascal Baccarin, a member of the European Parliament’s ethics committee, the committee on legal matters, who drafted the bill.
Baccarin said the government was “trying to create the appearance of a security measure” and argued that the bill would help ensure that companies could properly monitor customers’ personal information and protect it.
“This bill is a big step forward to protect the personal data of Europeans, and to protect our privacy and freedom,” he said.
The proposed biometric fees are one of several measures France is introducing to combat fraud and terrorists.
In August, the government introduced a fee for using mobile phones to register passwords.