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European governments are increasingly demanding storage of biometric data (fingerprints and facial scans) from individuals. These include storing them on contactless ‘RFID’ chips in passports and/or ID cards. Some are going even further and implementing database storage of these biometric data too, e.g. France, Lithuania, and the Netherlands.
These are inherently dangerous practices. In a democratic society, the collection of the biometrics of an entire population is a disproportionate and for other reasons unnecessary interference with our right to privacy (Article 8) and other rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Because of these concerns the United Kingdom Government recently abandoned the policy of collecting fingerprints of citizens. Yet most countries are keen to fingerprint groups and populations of people who have committed no crime.
That’s why we’ll urgently ask Secretary General Jagland of the Council of Europe to request the countries involved to explain whether their national law on this subject is in line with the European Convention and ECHR court rulings. Under an article 52 investigation ECHR Member states have to answer to subjects like proportionality, subsidiarity, effectiveness, function creep, safety measures and ‘accordance with the law’.
Read more on Privacy International.