London, Feb.14 : The European Union has decided to check fingerprints of children as young as six wanting to enter or exit from European countries.
By 2019, all travellers, including children, will be required to enter a closed booth on their own, where their biometric details, stored digitally on microchips in passports, will be checked against their real fingerprints. Under the plans all non-EU citizens visiting will be fingerprinted upon entry
According to The Telegraph, the new EU border security proposals is being seen by some as a culture shock of sorts, and many say that it represents a significant advance in a surveillance-geared society.
Currently British passports contain a digital record of an individual's facial characteristics, which are checked by border guards.By the end of 2009, "e-passports" will also contain digitally stored fingerprints which can be checked against a scan of the traveller's finger tips.
Current plans envisage taking a child's fingerprints at the age of six but security officials predict that records will be taken at younger and younger ages as the technology develops.
The paper quoted Franco Frattini, European Justice and Security Commissioner, as saying that the new 21st century border checks were needed in a new era of high-tech crime.