France plots single ID database, sparking security, privacy concerns

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Government officials in France have approved a plan to merge passports and identification cards into a single database by October of 2018, a move security advocates say could be disastrous if the information falls into the wrong hands or is used for the wrong purposes.

Dubbed by critics on social media as “#FichierMonstre,” or the “monster file,” France’s “titres électroniques securisés” was published by the Ministry of the Interior as a decree on a Sunday without parliamentary consultation or public debate, according to the CBC.france_lft_paris_nord_passport_stamp

The ministry claims its approach will be more efficient, saving time and money. But critics fear that having so much information about the country’s 60 million citizens in one place would make for an easy target.

Among the information that will be stored in the singular database are name, address, height, email address, phone number civil status, fingerprints, and even photos.

Government officials claim that the centralized database will only be used for identification purposes. Watchdogs, however, are concerned that the database could be used by law enforcement and encroach on citizens’ civil liberties.

The centralized identification database plans were approved just shy of one year after a series of coordinated terrorist attacks took place in Paris. A total of 130 people were killed, including 89 at a concert at the Bataclan theatre, while another 368 were injured.