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Dutch government considering collecting biometrics for ID documents


The Netherlands government may make it mandatory for all citizens to submit their fingerprint data to be stored in a database when applying for a passport, based on a European Court of Justice ruling this week, according to a report by the Netherland Times.

Upon discovering that there were no existing rules in place prohibiting the collection and storage of biometric data, the Dutch Council of State called on the EU court to provide legal explanations about the European Union rules regarding this practice.

The controversial issue was triggered by four separate cases in which Dutch citizens refused to submit their fingerprints when applying for a passport or an ID card.

The individuals claim that the collection and storage of biometric data is “a gross violation of bodily integrity and a restriction of the right to the protection of private life,” arguing that it is unclear whether the stored fingerprints will be used for other purposes.

The court ruled that the current EU rules do not require member states to guarantee in their legislation that the collected biometric data will solely be used for the issuance of a passport or an identification card.

And while the rules for protecting personal data should be respected, as dictated by the European treaty on human rights, the Council of State is ultimately free to rule however it sees fit in the four cases.

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