A broad international alliance of NGOs demands that there will be a European investigation into biometric data storage. Governments increasingly lay claim to people's biometric data (such as fingerprints), which are then stored on radio-frequency identification (RFID)-chips in passports and ID-cards. Some countries, such as the Netherlands, France and Lithuania go even further and store this information in databases which can be used for criminal investigation and prosecution. The alliance of more than 60 organisations (including Privacy First) has urgently requested the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, to request the countries concerned for an explanation about whether or not their legislation on these matters complies with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as speedily as possible. The alliance is of the…
The mission of Privacy First with regard to the new Passport Act seems to succeed. Dutch government plans for centralized storage of biometric data are likely to have definitively been cancelled. This is what we have learned from well-informed sources inside the government. Now the Dutch House of Representatives is also turning its back to storage in a national database, better known as the Online Accessible Travel Documents Administration (Online Raadpleegbare Reisdocumentenadministratie, ORRA). Click HERE for an article about this in Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant of 3 February 2011. The ‘decentralized storage’ of biometric data since the summer of 2009 in Dutch municipal databases is all that remains now. However, in essence this ‘decentralized storage’ is just as centralized as a national database (certainly through possible…
The Dutch resistance against the new Passport Act is currently reaching a climax along four lines of attack: 1) The civil Passport Trial by Privacy First. Currently, a verdict in this lawsuit by the district court of The Hague is planned for Wednesday 2 February 2011. Apart from a verdict on the merits of the trial, the district court could possibly decide to make a 'preliminary reference' to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. 2) The administrative Passport trial by Louise van Luijk. The first court session in this lawsuit is planned for 15 February 2011, also before the district court of The Hague. Considering the factual and legal power of both these lawsuits, a win for both Privacy…
Good news from our neighbours on the other side of the North Sea: today the British decision to scrap ID cards as well as a national biometric database has officially come into force. This came about with one stroke of the pen by Queen Elizabeth. The responsible Home Office Minister Damian Green gave the following clarification: ‘‘The Identity Card Scheme represented the worst of government. It was intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive.’’ We hope the British have set a good example. When will the Netherlands follow suit?Update: more about this news report in Webwereld, NRC's 'Recht en Bestuur' and NRC Next (in Dutch).  
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