FADO (which stands for "False and Authentic Documents Online") is a European image-archiving system that was set up to help combat illegal immigration and organised crime. It was established by a Joint Action of the Council of the European Union enacted in 1998.
The proliferation of genuine and false documents means that frequent updating is essential. Ever more sophisticated techniques are being used to produce both genuine documents and forgeries. A computerised system with restricted access has therefore been built that enables fast and secure information exchange between the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union and between document experts in the European Union member states, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
The database established by the FADO Joint Acts includes the following data:
- images of genuine documents,
- information on security techniques (security features),
- images of typical false and forged documents,
- information on forgery techniques, and
- statistics on detected false and falsified documents and identity fraud.
Part of the information shared by document experts in the classified, restricted system, FADO, is made publicly available, via the Public Register of Authentic Documents Online (PRADO) website which is managed by the Council of the European Union.
Document descriptions in FADO are available in all 24 official languages of the European Union. Documents are introduced by document experts in any of the languages and the standardised descriptions are translated automatically; thus, documents are immediately available in all supported languages. Additional free text information contained is translated later on by specialised linguists of the General Secretariat of the Council.
- Council Joint Action 98/700/JHA of 3 December 1998 adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union concerning the setting up of a European Image-Archiving System (FADO) (OJ L 33, 9 December 1998, p4).
- PRADO - Public Register of Authentic Documents Online - Official website
- Information page on FADO from the European Commission