Starting on Jan. 1, 2017, Singapore will take a step toward becoming a dystopian novel. The country plans to start collecting iris scans as part of its registration process for citizens and permanent residents.

According to Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs, the initiative to collect eye images will improve the "effectiveness and efficiency" of operations handled by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

The ICA will start collecting iris scans, in addition to photographs and fingerprints, from Singapore residents in the new year. These identifiers will be gathered when a citizen goes to re-register an identity card—which Singapore has issued to all residents since 1965—or applies for or renews a passport.

As iris images are gathered, the Singapore government will begin implementing iris scans at various land and sea checkpoints. The nation expects to expand the technologies at these checkpoints within the next two years.

Desmond Lee, a senior minister of state for home affairs in Singapore, explained during a speech to parliament on Nov. 10 that current identification methods are not effective enough—photographs fade and poor fingerprint scans have caused travelers trouble when using automated clearance gates at immigration checkpoints.

"The collection and verification of iris images is similar to taking a photograph. It is convenient, contactless and non-intrusive and can be completed in seconds," Lee told parliament.

Singapore won’t be the first country to implement the effective if potentially invasive means of identification. Germany began using biometric identifiers in 2005, and expanded its program to include iris scans in 2012. The eye image was required for holders of long-term work visas.

India has also made use of biometrics for its national identity program, which has collected more than 5 billion fingerprints, 1 billion iris image and 500 million face photos—making it the l argest biometric identity platform in the world.

While these databases represent a convenient way to check a person’s identity for government organizations, there are those who believe the convenience doesn’t outweigh the potential privacy concerns.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation warns on its website, “Biometrics’ biggest risk to privacy comes from the government’s ability to use it for surveillance. As face recognition technologies become more effective and cameras are capable of recording greater and greater detail, surreptitious identification and tracking could become the norm.”

The privacy organization advises any government choosing to implement biometrics to limit the amount and type of data that can be stored, restrict the data to a single database, and ensure that data is stored in the most secure way possible.