Biometric data can be (potentially) shared in different scenarios, such as, for example:
a) JOA (Joint Area of Operations). Nations participating in or planning to participate in a NATO mission, such as ISAF, must determine their ability to capture and share biometric data with NATO and with other nations within the mission.
b) Intermission. Individuals encountered during one NATO mission may be encountered during another. It could be important that biometric data acquired during a JOA are transferred to another JOA for a different Mission.
c) among different Institutions (e.g. between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior),
d) among Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) and Military Agencies (MIL)
e) Biometric data collected by a MIL force in a JOA are transferred to the MoD in the homeland
f) among different Nations’ Civilian (CIV) environments (e.g. among the Nations joining multilateral agreements such as the EU Prum Treaty or the Five Countries Conference - FCC)
g) among different Nations’ MoD Headquarters
h) among Civilian Entities and different Nations’ MoD through the local national Mod Headquarters
Of the listed options, only some points are implemented in the NATO Nations that, in general, present a very fragmented approach to biometric data sharing.
The discussion assumes a particular importance for NATO Nations since NATO has a relevant presence in the mission areas and the lesson learned have highlighted the importance of standardization to support interoperability. To this aim the NATO created a specific standard for biometrics (STANAG 4715).
The STANAG 4715, covering already several biometric modalities, if adopted in the civilian context 1, will provide a robust interoperability. From standardization we derive interoperability. From interoperability we realize operational effectiveness. As it well known, interoperability, defined as the ability to act together, coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve Alliess technical operational and strategic objectives.
Aiming to coordinate the use of biometrics in the NATO context, a specific group the NATO Biometrics Programme Coordination Group (NBPCG) - has been created. The group analyses various issues connected to biometrics such as military standards or doctrines and has identified in the international policies for data sharing one of the most critical point to be approached.
While in the MIL context the roadmap toward a significant increase of biometric data sharing is being robustly fixed, the interaction with the CIV and LEA contexts is still partially missing. The aim of the proposed RTG is to facilitate a discussion between the parts highlighting the utility of biometric data sharing in MIL to MIL, MIL to CIV, CIV to MIL, MIL to LEA and LEA to MIL interactions. In particular the RTG aims to stress, in the CIV and LEA areas, the role that may be potentially played by the standards for interoperability adopted in the NATO context.
The timeframe for the proposed activity is two years.