08 May 2003
G-8 Countries Urge Use of Biometrics in Fight Against Terrorism
(New technologies can help pinpoint false documents) (2200)
The major industrialized countries and Russia have "unanimously"
agreed to work on developing and implementing new biology-based
technologies to prevent forgeries of passports and other travel
Ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs from the Group of Eight
(G-8) countries said that biometric technologies "open up new
possibilities in the fight against the use of fraudulent documents for
criminal or terrorist purposes," especially in the transportation
The Group of Eight comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan,
the United Kingdom and the United States plus Russia.
Biometrics are distinctive physical characteristics and personal
traits -- such as fingerprints, hand geometry, and iris and retinal
scans -- that can be used to identify a person through computer
The G-8 ministers announced the establishment of a high-level working
group on biometric technologies co-chaired by the United States and
France in a final statement issued May 5 at the end of their meeting
in Paris. They said that the ultimate objective of this initiative is
the development of a common framework and standards within competent
international bodies to ensure "perfect" technical interoperability
The G-8 ministers warned that terrorism "continues to present both a
pervasive and global threat," which must be dealt with "effectively
Citing the fight against terrorism financing as a priority, they said
they are "more determined than ever" to take the necessary measures to
cut off terrorists' funding sources and thwart their ability to
transfer and hide financial assets.
The ministers said they need "unprecedented" global cooperation to
protect the information infrastructure, including computer networks
and telecommunication systems, against terrorist and criminal attacks.
To that end, they adopted a set of principles, agreed on during a
March G-8 conference, that includes strengthening international
coordination, promoting a veritable partnership between public and
private sectors and conducting common exercises to test reaction
The ministers also called for broader sharing of DNA information in
criminal investigations and expressed concern about Internet-based
Following is the text of the G-8 final statement:
Justice and Home Affairs ministerial meeting
Paris, 5 May 2003
Final official statement
1. The G8 member States' Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs plus
the European Commissioner in charge of Justice and Home Affairs met
May 5, 2003 in Paris (France) to review the progress made in the fight
against terrorism and organised crime since their May 2002 meeting in
2. The Presidents have prepared the present summary of the discussions
that took place during this meeting.
Evaluation of the terrorist threat
3. Terrorism continues to present both a pervasive and global threat
to our societies that we have to respond to effectively and
immediately. We have evaluated the terrorist threat in light of the
international situation and the latest developments in the fight
against Al Qaida and other terrorist organizations.
4. The threat from the Al Qaida network remains serious. In spite of
the elimination of most of its bases in Afghanistan, it seems that
other camps have been reactivated in other areas in the zone. The
organisation's abilities have been shaken by the recent arrests, but
dormant individuals and cells are always ready to act.
5. These serious blows to the terrorist networks were achieved through
the exchange of information between the specialised intelligence
services and the strengthening of police cooperation and mutual legal
assistance. We are committed to continue and intensify this
cooperation in order to thwart attempted terrorist attacks and to
protect the targets most likely to be chosen by terrorists.
6. Up to now terrorists have used conventional weapons, although there
is a risk that they might resort to CBRN means (chemical, biological,
radiological and nuclear). We must address ways to anticipate and
respond to such threats.
7. The G8 countries have already taken protective, preventive and
security measures to protect critical infrastructures, foreign
representatives, symbolic sites and high-risk communities.
8. Each country is responsible for adopting the protection strategies
and measures based on the level of the threat and the nature of the
installation concerned. We have insisted upon the critical importance
of close international cooperation on these questions.
Use of biometric technologies
9. We unanimously stressed the importance of developing biometric
technologies and their application in travel procedures and documents.
We recognised that these new technologies open up new possibilities in
the fight against the use of fraudulent documents for criminal or
terrorist purposes. Consequently, they help strengthen transportation
security, in accordance with the objectives set out in 2002 by the G8
10. We underlined that the issues relating to application of this new
technology should lead us to work on developing a common framework and
standards within the competent international bodies. In this spirit,
the G8 contributed to the International Civil Aviation Organisation's
(ICAO) work in the form of a Declaration (G8 Roma and Lyon Groups
Statement for ICAO on Biometric Applications for International
Travel). The declaration identifies three guiding principles in
establishing the standards: universality of standards to ensure
perfect technical interoperability, urgency in implementing these
technologies and technical reliability.
11. We have decided to convene a high-level working group co-chaired
by France and the United States, with a first meeting in Germany,
which before the end of French Presidency shall report their
recommendations on ways to develop biometric technologies, including
manners of assessing their effectiveness. We ask them to work in
conjunction with the Roma and Lyon groups and to take into
consideration the work underway within ICAO about biometrics.
Protection of critical information infrastructures
12. Last year we underlined the threats to and attacks against our
critical information infrastructures, their interdependence and the
need to increase international cooperation to ensure their protection
against potential terrorist attacks. To combat this threat, we need
unprecedented global cooperation to protect our information
infrastructures, including computer network and communication systems,
and respond to terrorist and criminal threats against them.
13. France and United States co-sponsored a G8 conference on the
protection of critical information infrastructures, held in Paris on
March 24-26, 2003. This conference was the first of its kind organized
internationally and resulted in the first set of internationally
agreed principles for protecting critical information infrastructures
that can serve as building blocks for further global efforts in this
area. We commend the work of the conference, adopt the eleven
Principles and direct our High-Tech Crime experts to lead the effort
to carry forward and disseminate their important work.
14. The relationship between government and the private sector is of
paramount importance in the effective investigation of cybercrime and
the protection of critical information infrastructures. We ask the
Roma and Lyon groups to continue their work on best practices for
network security, incident investigation and the reporting of cyber
attacks and encourage them to explore mechanisms to enhance the
relationship between the private sector and law enforcement in these
areas. We also ask them to continue their outreach, capacity building
and training efforts, including their upcoming conference in Rome on
training the 24/7 High Tech Crime national current points of contact.
Fight against child pornography
15. We reaffirmed our concern in the face of the growing use of the
Internet to sexually exploit children. We are determined to act with
the greatest firmness against child pornography crimes. We praised the
work carried out by our experts, which is in accordance with the
orientations we set out in Milan (2001) and Mont-Tremblant (2002).
16. We praised the development of a G8 strategy against sexual
exploitation of children on the Internet. The strategy defines eight
objectives in terms of collecting information, identifying victims,
locating suspects, legislations, police tools, cooperation with
private players, prevention and international cooperation. We approve
this strategy, applaud the substantial efforts already made to
implement it, and ask our experts to monitor work undertaken in this
17. Major progress has been made on the creation of an international
image database that can be used to identify victims and persons
suspected of pedophile acts. The feasibility study requested by the G8
concluded that such a tool would enable police forces to more
effectively combat the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet
and that it can be created. Secretary General Ronald K. Noble
confirmed Interpol's willingness to host this database, which should
be in addition to existing national databases or the ones being
created in several G8 States. Financial, technical and legal issues
still need to be defined. We ask our experts to accelerate as much as
possible their work on the implementation study.
Improving the effectiveness of procedures for tracing, freezing,
seizing and confiscating crime-related assets
18. The fight against terrorism financing must remain a priority for
the international community. We are more determined than ever to take
the necessary measures internally and internationally to cut off
terrorists' financing sources and hinder their ability to transfer and
conceal their financial assets.
19. We praised the major progress achieved in implementing United
Nations Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1455 and we commend the
FATF [Financial Action Task Force] for the work undertaken in this
area. We also evoked our commitment to see the United Nations'
Convention on suppression of the financing of terrorism ratified by
the largest number of States and we agreed that the G8 should work
actively in this direction.
20. The internal measures to freeze assets, which were made possible
by the excellent cooperation between our specialised intelligence
services and police in close consultation with the judicial
authorities, have effectively hindered certain terrorist activities.
Now we need to go further and increase the effectiveness of judicial
and police authorities' actions as part of financial investigations.
21. Therefore, our experts have identified 29 best practice principles
on tracing, freezing, seizing and confiscating crime-related assets.
The principles also deal with sharing of crime-related assets between
States and compensation or restitution to victims. These principles
and good practices are ambitious. They cover organised crime and
terrorism financing. They underline the necessary specialisation of
competent authorities to handle such complex questions.
22. We approve these 29 best practice principles and we undertake to
implement the commitments they contain to apply their recommended
measures. We ask our experts to continue their work in this field, in
particular by identifying the best way to implement the best practice
principles throughout the international community.
Special investigative techniques
23. The development of judicial and police cooperation is essential to
effectively combat transnational organised crime. The G8 countries
recognise the need to promote special investigative techniques that
can be used to pursue complex investigations. In many cases, a
coordinated response is required.
24. We encourage our experts to continue their work in order to
identify the obstacles to international judicial and police
cooperation and the means to remedy the situation.
Sharing of DNA information between States
25. The recourse to DNA analyses constitutes a major innovation that
has been used over the past few years to make progress on and resolve
difficult criminal investigations. Most G8 countries already have
comprehensive legislations that allow this analytical tool to be used
in a wide range of offences.
26. The use and sharing of DNA information between countries
constitutes fundamental progress in the fight against all forms of
serious crime. We want to increase such sharing to enhance States'
capacity to collect and use such information and cooperate
internationally, to increase the effectiveness of judicial
cooperation. We approve our experts' statement of principles
concerning the use and sharing of DNA information and ask our experts
to promote the implementation of the recommended measures.
Future work of the Roma and Lyon groups
27. Beyond these subjects, we also exchanged ideas about future work
for the Roma and Lyon groups. The future G8 presidency presented the
themes that it believes are priorities for the groups, in particular
urgent examination of further ways and means for preventing terrorist
acts, such as through global outreach and capacity building efforts,
and examination of ways to facilitate protection of critical
information infrastructures, enhanced law enforcement capabilities to
address conduct prior to a completed attack, sharing of information
between security and law enforcement authorities, and sharing of
information to prevent our asylum and immigration processes from
abuse. Future Roma and Lyon Group work should be aimed at establishing
strong operationally useful mechanisms to complement our existing
28. Furthermore, we ask the Roma and Lyon groups to examine the
proposals made by Germany regarding common measures governing the use
of joint document advisers and of armed sky marshals and to report
back before the end of 2003.
29. We ask the heads of the Roma and Lyon groups delegations to
consider these orientations when they establish their priority
actions, in accordance with the reform adopted by the Sherpas.
We are determined to remain mobilised and united in the face of global
threats from terrorism and organised crime against our citizens'
security. This includes distributing the results of our work and
providing technical assistance to third party countries.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)