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Algemeen Dagblad, 28 April 2011: 'Many cheers for decision not to store fingerprints'

"The decision by Interior Minister Piet-Hein Donner to abandon a national fingerprint database for the time being and halt its local storage has been met with general approval.

Political parties and privacy organisations welcome the decision Donner announced today in a letter to the House of Representatives.

It involves fingerprints taken when a passport is issued. These are embedded in a chip in the passport, but are no longer stored separately at the municipality or another issuing point. About six million fingerprints have now been taken. These will all be destroyed, the minister informed the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) on Wednesday welcomed Donner's fingerprinting decision. CBP chairman Jacob Kohnstamm called the central database a violation of privacy last year. "There is a pressure to continue setting aside privacy, and that has already led to a number of derailments. This is one of them," he said.

Donner also received positive reactions in the Lower House. "It is a happy day," PvdA MP Pierre Heijnen observed on Wednesday during a debate with Donner on biometric data. A majority in parliament had earlier expressed its lack of interest in a nationwide database and serious doubts about the reliability of fingerprint use and privacy.

Several parties called on the minister to destroy the approximately six million fingerprints now taken. "They are no longer of any use, they are useless," said GroenLinks MP Mariko Peters.

The VVD is relieved that Donner is not pushing through "a state database of fingerprints". "Too much faith has been placed in biometrics, the underlying technology, large-scale storage and the associated tracking function in the past," said VVD MP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.

The Privacy First foundation is happy that there will be no database for the time being. "The main goal of our foundation has been achieved," a spokesman for the foundation said on Wednesday."

Read HERE the entire article in the Algemeen Dagblad.