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S. Africa's Plan To Record All Babies' Biometrics Raises Privacy Fears

– Reuters

A proposed policy would mean photographs and fingerprints of every baby in South Africa would be captured

A tenth of children born in South Africa aren’t legally registered, and a lack of birth certificates can exclude them from accessing vital services such as healthcare throughout their lives.

“The draft identity management policy seeks to capture more biometric data, such as photos of eyes, hands, feet and ears - and possibly DNA collection in the future - to ensure no one lives without ‘a legal record of existence’.”

However, human rights activists are criticizing the government’s plan due to the high levels of data collected and the scheme’s potential for surveillance and abuse. Other biometric systems around the world such as India’s Aadhaar have been shown to further the marginalization of vulnerable groups such as homeless people.

The policy is open for public comment until Feb. 28, after which it will be drafted into a bill

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