Dominican Republic enacts sweeping biometric data measure

Published 2 December 2008

Citing concerns about crime and public safety, the Dominican republic enacts sweeping biometric data requirements; as of January 2009, anyone who has not supplied their biometric data will not be able to make any banking transactions or get a firearms permit

Citing the need to fight crime and enhance public security, the Dominican Republic has moved aggressively to collect the biometric data of Dominican citizens. The Central Electoral Board (JCE) warned the other day that as of January, anyone who has not supplied their biometric data will not be able to make any banking transactions or get a firearms permit, for instance (our U.S. readers will note that this is not unlike the strictures of the 2005 U.S. Real ID Act; the act requires that states issue driver’s licenses which include the driver’s biometric data; the act was supposed to go into effect in May 2008, but because of resistance from states, the deadline has been extended to 11 May 2011; after that date, U.S. citizens without a biometric driver’s license will not be able to enter federal buildings or nuclear power plants, open a bank account, or board a commercially operated plane).

The Dominican government said it intends to collect fingerprints, retinas, iris, facial patterns, veins in the hands, and palm geometry. The new Dominican IDs, to be issued next year, will include this information with the aim of combating identity fraud.

The Association of Commercial Banks will be requiring biometric information for banking transactions. Roberto Rosario, the president of the Administrative Chamber of the JCE, told reporters from El Caribe that the ministers of the interior and police have told him that beginning next 1 January, it will be obligatory to supply biometric data to get a firearms license. The biometric registry started at the JCE headquarters in October. The registry of the biometric data has also taken place at prosecutors offices, leading hotels in Santo Domingo, the National Police headquarters, and several media companies in Santo Domingo and Santiago, as reported in El Caribe.

Radhamés Jimenez, Procurador General de la República, said: “La mayoría de los delincuentes en nuestro país tienen dos y tres cédulas de identidad, pero ahora con la captura de estos datos biométricos será imposible, desde el punto de vista técnico, que estos delincuentes puedan vulnerar el sistema criminal.”