Oct 062012
 October 6, 2012  Posted by  Court, Laws, Non-U.S.

An EU reader sends in this comment/update on the legal battle over biometric passports:

The legality of the biometric passport is being questioned by European courts.

At the end of September, the Dutch highest administrative appeal court joined the recent German request for a preliminary ruling from the EU Court of Justice.

EU Law Radar highlights the first case of the German lawyer Michael Schwarz, who refused to have his fingerprints scanned when applying for a new passport.

In The Netherlands, several other cases have now led to similar court questions regarding the proportionality of the biometric passport (and possible future function creep).

An overview of the Dutch fight against fingerprints and IDbases can be found here (towards the bottom).

Given the broadly acknowledged high failure rates (up to 25%) in the Netherlands, the collection of fingerscans could for this reason alone be regarded as highly unnecessary in a democratic society and therefore illegal.

Nevertheless answers from the Luxemburg based EU Court of Justice regarding the proportionality of biometrics will take up to 1,5 years.

In 2011 a civil rights alliance of NGOs already petitioned  the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Strasburg. He was asked to use his powers based on article 52 ECHR to investigate the collection of biometrics for ID documents in all ECHR countries involved.

When will Secretary General Mr. Jagland do his legal duty? 

Thanks to this reader for keeping us apprised. PogoWasRight.org welcomes submissions on privacy law developments around the world. If you would like to submit something, please contact me via e-mail.  This site generally does not include material designed to promote commercial services, however. 

 Note: This post was corrected after copy/paste errors on my part. 

  2 Responses to “Biometric passport stands trial in European Courts”

  1. I always found it interesting that your photograph is not considered “biometric”, why not?

  2. According to the Biometrics Institute, a photo could be, depending…. http://www.biometricsinstitute.org/pages/faq-16.html

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