Israel is known on the world stage for its development and adoption of new technologies. Israel leads in biotechnology but has also recently made strides in other high-tech fields. Now Israel is taking steps to apply some of those technological advancements practically. Israel announced last week it is launching a national biometric database.
Although the move has been the butt of some Orwellian Jewish humor at home and abroad, the system is, for the time being, strictly voluntary. Users submit to fingerprints and a facial scan which can then be used to identify them for reasons of taxation, record keeping and fraud prevention. The system’s ability will likely grow with time, if the public accepts the system. The biometric database is a two year pilot program. The Israeli government is trying to determine the usefulness, viability and public opinion of the system. Although some people fear the system may encroach on their privacy, others are pleased with the idea of a highly accurate and hard-to-defraud database. Israel is not known to be particularly rife with pension or tax fraud but such crimes are notoriously hard to track.
Israel’s Ministry of the Interior is behind the program and the public relations campaign to get Israeli citizens to use it.