Dutch DB of biometric data still unavailable to police

Even though the EU doesn’t require it yet, the Dutch are taking 4 fingerprints of all the citizens that apply for a new passport (two of which will be put in a microchip in the travel document). Starting from September 18, these fingerprints will be stored locally, but the plan is to include them in a central database as soon as it is built.

According to Nrc Handelsblad, many think this is not such a good idea in the first place. The fears are many:

  • The fingerprint method of identification IS fallible, even if by a small margin. If the database can be accessed by the police, you could find yourself falsely accused of a crime you didn’t commit
  • The previous point begs the question: Who will have access to the biometric data – both during the intermediary phase and when the central database becomes available?
  • And finally, the ever present problem of security – how can people be sure that their biometric data is secure, that it can’t be stolen or manipulated with?

For the time being, the access to the data is permitted to the justice department only if dealing with serious crime cases, and only for identifying suspects. But, regulations change, and usually in favor of government institutions, so there may come a time when this Passport Act becomes less welcome to the common citizen.

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