Many Germans wary of biometrics on ID cards

Biometrics and digital ID

Deutsche Welle reports on the concerns of privacy advocates in Germany about the inclusion of fingerprint biometrics in the chip of the country’s ID cards, in line with EU standards.

Fingerprint data is included to prevent the use of forged or stolen documents for border crossing or other purposes. The article cites Interior Ministry data that shows 34 forged German ID cards were found in 2020, and 26 in 2019, and suggests this shows that forgery is rare. The article also notes that most German ID cards do not include the forgery-detection mechanism, therefore begging the question of whether it is forgery or its detection that is rare.

Similarly, Thilo Weichert, a lawyer specializing in data protection, who believes the inclusion of fingerprints is disproportionate, a violation of people’s rights, and unconstitutional, expresses certainty that the data, currently stored only in the cards’ chip, will be made available to authorities, invoking “China and many other authoritarian states, (where) we’ve already begun to see how biometrics can be used to keep an entire population under control.”

The majority of new ID card applications in some regions have declined to include fingerprint biometrics, DW reports, which are voluntary until August 2.

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