Israel's parliament has approved an extension to a trial biometric identity card pilot despite criticism that it has so far failed to meet many benchmarks.Registration of fingerprint and facial data has been undergoing a two-year pilot phase in Israel, with citizens given the option of applying either for regular ID cards and passport or biometric versions.A 69-43 majority in the Knesset said the programme should be studied for a further nine months before the government takes a final decision on making it biometrics mandatory for all Israelis.The vote represents approval for a decision taken last week by Interior Minister Silvan Shalom to continue the testing phase of the Biometric Database Law until March 2016.The move comes despite a highly critical report by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira last week which stated that the pilot program has failed many of its benchmarks.Remarking on “significant defects” in the project, the comptroller requested a freeze on the legislative process.He had cited alleged deficiencies including an absence of information about how well the database has prevented identity theft; the use of a defective process for scanning fingerprints; the use of a temporary and flawed database system and method of comparing the system's results that cannot be used in the long-term; and failure to consider alternative solutions to prevent identity theft.The Central Bureau of Statistics revealed last September that only around a third of ID card and passport applicants had opted for the biometric option.