The Estonian government at a sitting on Thursday (April 1) approved a bill creating a legal basis for establishing a database for an automated biometric identification system (ABIS).
There are currently several databases in use in Estonia that contain biometric personal data and are at present under various ministries' areas of administration, spokespeople for the government said. The objective of the ABIS database is to increase the reliability of identification by using the datasets to create a central database.
The creation of the database and the resulting capability to compare biometric data will have a positive impact of the state's internal security as it will help law enforcement bodies resolve criminal offenses.
The processing of data in the ABIS database will follow all data protection principles and ensure that data is used lawfully and transparently. The owner of the data stored in ABIS is the person whom it concerns and pursuant to the Personal Data Protection Act, the owner has the right to know who has viewed their information.
Access to ABIS will be granted only to officials who have a legal right and specific authorization for accessing the database for the purpose of fulfilling their statutory duties. Data in ABIS is to be processed as little as possible and only to the extent required for achieving the objectives of proceedings.
Editor: Helen Wright