Current information and downloads in our Passport Trial

On this page you can find up-to-date information and documents relating to the civil lawsuit (Passport Trial, 'Paspoortproces') that Privacy First has lodged against the Dutch government which, in this case, is being represented by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

 

Current STATE OF AFFAIRS

On 18 February 2014, Privacy First gained two important victories in the Passport trial: the Hague Court of Appeal declared Privacy First admissible after all and deemed the central storage of fingerprints under the Passport Act to be unlawful as it concerns a violation of the right to privacy; read our report about it and the whole ruling HERE. In May 2014, the Dutch government lodged an appeal at the Dutch Supreme Court against the ruling of the Hague Court: the government wanted Privacy First to be declared inadmissible once more and requested the Supreme Court to declare the central storage of fingerprints lawful after all.

On 19 May 2014, the State Attorneys submitted the appeal summons to the Supreme Court. On 21 November 2014, Privacy First et al. submitted their statement of defence against the appeal summons. The State Attorney, in turn, submitted a written explanation to its appeal summons. On 5 December 2014, Privacy First et al. submitted their written reply and rejoinder. Much earlier than expected, the Advocate General of the Supreme Court delivered his advice ('conclusion') in the case, upon which Privacy First et al. submitted a response letter ('Borgers brief') to the Supreme Court. No such letter was submitted by the Dutch State Attorney. Therefore, Privacy First has had the final say in this case. We will now have to wait for the Supreme Court ruling, which is expected later this year. In the appeal, Privacy First et al. are being represented by Alt Kam Boer Attorneys in The Hague.
 

trial documents (in Dutch)

- Response letter ('Borgersbrief') from Privacy First and co-plaintiffs dated 6 March 2015, by Barbara van Dorp (Alt Kam Boer Attorneys; click HERE (pdf in Dutch).

- Advice from the Advocate General of the Supreme Court Jaap Spier dated 20 February 2015; click HERE (pdf in Dutch, 7 MB).

- Rejoinder from Privacy First and co-plaintiffs dated 5 December 2014, by Barbara van Dorp (Alt Kam Boer Attorneys); click HERE (pdf in Dutch).

- Reply from the State Attorneys Hans van Wijk and Gijsbrecht Nieuwland dated 5 December 2014; click HERE (pdf in Dutch).

- Written explanation to the appeal summons from the State Attorneys Hans van Wijk and Gijsbrecht Nieuwland dated 21 November 2014; click HERE (pdf in Dutch).

- Statement of Defence (written explanation) from Privacy First and co-plaintiffs dated 21 November 2014, by Barbara van Dorp (Alt Kam Boer Attorneys); click HERE (pdf in Dutch).

- Appeal Summons from State Attorneys Hans van Wijk en Gijsbrecht Nieuwland dated 19 May 2014; click HERE (pdf in Dutch).

- Ruling of the Hague Court of Appeal dated 18 February 2014; click HERE (pdf in Dutch), which was also published on rechtspraak.nl and in Jurisprudentie Bestuursrecht 2014/76, with annotation by professor R. Schutgens.

- Reply to the Statement of Appeal by the State Attorney Cécile Bitter dated 26 March 2013: click HERE (pdf in Dutch).

- Statement of Appeal by the Privacy First Foundation and co-plaintiffs, dated 18 December 2012 pdfclick HERE.
- Judgement by the district court of The Hague dated 2 February 2011:  pdfclick HERE. LJN: BP2860. Annotations: JB 2011/78 by Prof. R. Schutgens , NJB 2011, No 15 (Kroniek Bestuursrecht, 'Chronicle of Administrative Law'), p. 939; NJB 2012/11 (Prof. T. Barkhuysen, Ruim baan voor belangenorganisaties, 'Make way for interest groups').

- Brief by Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm (SOLV Attorneys): pdfclick HERE.
- Brief by State Attorney Cécile Bitter: pdfclick HERE
- Statement of Defence by State Attorney Cécile Bitter: pdfclick HERE.
- Summons of the State by the Privacy First Foundation, by Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm (SOLV Attorneys): pdfclick HERE.
- Pre-advice by Judith van Schie (Bousie Attorneys): pdfclick HERE

 

Background: LegAL grounds

The source for our current passport: EU Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 of 13 December 2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States: pdfclick HERE.

The EU rules for dealing with passport data: Directive 95/46/EC dated 24 October 1995 (European Privacy Directive): click HERE.

Jurisprudence: the famous Marper case. Is it lawful to store the fingerprints of someone who isn't being accused of anything? According to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), it isn't. For the judgment by the ECHR in Strasbourg in the case of S. and Marper vs. United Kingdom dated December 4, 2008, click HERE.

The Dutch Passport Act of 15 July 2009, in force as of 21 September 2009, pdfclick HERE. For the 2008 Explanatory Memorandum to the new Passport Act click HERE.
 

Background information: REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS

In this section we present links to relevant reports.

In October 2010 the Scientific Council for Government Policy (Dutch abbreviation: WRR) published the report ‘Happy landings? The biometric passport as a black box’ by Mr. Vincent Böhre. Click HERE for this WRR publication (in Dutch). A month later a second, complementary WRR publication called ‘The biometric passport in The Netherlands, crash or soft landing’ by Mr. Max Snijder appeared; click HERE. These two publications are the most important official reports that for the greater part underwrite Privacy First’s argumentation. These reports make reference to a whole range of other reports and recommendations concerning the passport and the Passport Act unnecessary.

In the context of our lawsuit, on 20 January 2010 a meeting took place at the Dutch Ministry of the Interior between representatives of Privacy First and the Ministry. Click HERE for a record of this meeting.

On 14 July 2009 Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin was admonished by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva over the new Passport Act that had just been accepted. Afterwards he said that the inclusion of fingerprints in the passport wasn’t actually such a good idea. Read the article from Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad of 15 July 2009 HERE.

On 22 January 2009 the Dutch 'Brouwer Commission' released a report entitled ‘Gewoon Doen’ (which in Dutch can mean both "Act Normal" or "Just Do It"). Click HERE for the report or click HERE for the original internet location of publication. It is in this report that Privacy First found the inspiration and the necessity to effectively get things started.

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