Duma allows FSB to receive biometrics of Russians from banks
20 December 2017 16:45 GMT

Russia's parliament has said that the FSB can use biometric data taken by banks.

According to a report in Crime Russia, at the plenary meeting on December 20 State Duma deputies approved the final version of a package of amendments to the laws regulating the remote identification of clients of Russian banks.

The amendments provide the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the opportunity to receive biometric data of Russians. The initiative was supported by 413 deputies, with nobody voting against it. The bill will be submitted to the Federation Council, and then to the President.

The draft amendments were prepared by the Head of the Duma committee on the financial market, deputy from faction A Just Russia Anatoly Aksakov and Senator Nikolay Zhuravlev. According to Aksakov, the bill is aimed at "increasing financial accessibility for all categories of citizens, including those living in remote regions and people with disabilities." The deputy believes that the initiative will help reduce the cost of banking services and increase competition in the financial market.

With the consent of customers, banks will be able to collect their personal data, including biometric information. This information will be used to provide financial services without personal presence of the client, including the conclusion of a contract to open a bank account. Personal data of clients will be stored in the Unified Identification and Authentication System (ESIA). The authors of the law deem that this system will allow citizens to interact with banks through the state services portal.

By the second reading, the article on Application of Information Technologies for the Purpose of Citizens' Identification was added to the Law On Information, Information Technologies and Communication. It introduces the concept of a unified biometric system, the operator of which will need to provide the obtained data to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB "in order to ensure the country's defense, state security, law enforcement and counter terrorism". The government will develop the procedure for the transfer of data after the adoption of the law.

According to Aksakov, who proposed to introduce a new article, the law will not expand the powers of the special services. Biometrics is protected by the law on personal data. The access of law enforcers to this information is limited by law, which determines the powers of special services. After the new law is adopted, the rights of special services will not alter.