Planned airport iris scans illegal

Greece's privacy watchdog has axed plans for certain travelers at Athens airport to undergo advanced identity checks using fingerprinting and iris scans. In a decision made public yesterday, the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data found that the pilot scheme, which was funded by the European Union and the Swiss government and was to involve, on a voluntary basis, Alitalia passengers flying to Milan, would break Greece's privacy laws. The authority said this included the voluntary submission of biometric information by travelers. Under the project, which was scheduled to come into effect later this month with the cooperation of the International Air Transport Association, Alitalia, the Eleftherios Venizelos and Malpensa (Milan) airports and two European electronics firms, biometric information would be entered on microchips in cards issued to passengers. Meanwhile, yesterday state Ombudsman Giorgos Kaminis criticized Greek authorities for failing to crack down on illegal demonstrations.