Israel opens pilot biometric data program

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Interior Ministry began a two-year trial of its controversial biometric data program.

Beginning Monday, Israeli citizens seeking to obtain or renew their national identity cards can choose to receive a smart-ID card by submitting their biometric data, including fingerprints and facial contours.

The pilot program will start in Rishon Lezion and Ashdod. It will be available in all population registry bureaus nationwide by the end of August.

The program was challenged in court by Israel civil rights organizations, claiming it violates peoples’ rights to privacy.  Data leaks and information theft are also a concern, according to the organizations.