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 data linkage), with almost the same risks. What many people seem to have forgotten is that the current ‘decentralized storage’ by municipalities used to be called ‘centralized storage’ well into the new millennium. At the same time, the technical term ‘decentralized storage’ traditionally only refers to the storage of data in the passport or ID card itself. Privacy First is keen to draw your attention to this deliberate shift in terminology by the Dutch government. Strictly speaking, the abrogation of ‘centralized storage’ of biometrics should not just encompass any national database but also the storage in municipal databases. Only then will there be decentralized storage in the true sense of the word: merely in the chip in the passport or ID card.
Have you become intrigued by the government’s trickery with databases? Then read this article (in Dutch) about it by Het Nieuwe Rijk ('The New State') on the Sargasso website.