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The national policy on biometric applications was declared in Israel this week. The policy enables the balanced use of biometric applications and their advantages while decreasing the risks. This step makes Israel the first country that has an overall national policy regarding the subject.

During the annual Secure Identification and Biometrics Conference, Ram Walzer, Biometric Applications Commissioner in the Prime Minister’s Office, reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had confirmed the integrative national policy on the use of biometric applications.

According to Walzer, the policy offers a balance between the biometrics advantages and risks. The policy was formulated by Israel’s leading experts in biometrics, information security and privacy, and after consultations with the relevant figures in the government, the private sector and the public at large.

Walzer clarified that this policy does not include the national smart documentation project, led by the Ministry of Interior (concerning identity cards, passports and a biometric database) according to a specific law – “The inclusion of biometric identification means”.

He added that “biometric applications are based on a rapidly developing technology, and are already part of our daily life (e.g. at government offices, border checkpoints, hospitals, health funds, credit companies, cellular, access to installations and systems), a trend that is expected to grow. The use of biometric applications can result in more efficiency, facilitating business, profits gain, processes improvement, widening and making accessible of numerous services at the public governmental sector as well as at the private one. However, there are also potential dangers”.

The conference, initiated by the Commissioner and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, presented the government’s activities on this realm, and emphasized innovations, challenges and global trends. It also served an opportunity for the hundreds of participants to meet a variety of Israeli start-up companies in the field.