ID card without fingerprints still not available despite recent change in law
Following a recent amendment to the Passport Act would now no longer require fingerprinting when applying for a new identity card. (For passports, mandatory fingerprinting will unfortunately remain for the time being). In practice, however, this change in the law has not yet been implemented at Dutch municipalities. Telephone enquiries by Privacy First to the Ministry of the Interior (BZK) reveal that ID cards without fingerprints will probably not be available everywhere until later this month ("no later than early February"). This is due to the "required adjustments to municipal software", according to the Interior Ministry. Why these technical adjustments were not prepared and implemented in time is a mystery to Privacy First, as it had already been clear for months that the relevant amendment to the Passport Act would be passed unanimously by the Senate. This unanimous legislative amendment dates from 17 December last but has not been published in the Official Gazette to date, blocking its entry into force for the time being. In September 2013, minister Plasterk had called for the introduction of ID cards without fingerprints in prospect as of January 2014. The current postponement puts citizens going through life without a valid ID card (due to their legitimate refusal to be fingerprinted) even further into the social problems many of them have fallen into in recent years. After all, without a valid ID card, no new employment contract, no new house, no benefits, no studies, etc. etc. etc. etc.
Privacy First hereby makes an urgent appeal to minister Plasterk to publish the recent change in the law immediately and issue ID cards without fingerprints to citizens from now on. Privacy First reserves the right to oblige the minister to do so through summary proceedings at the District Court of The Hague.
Update 10 January 2014: From Monday 20 January next, fingerprints will no longer be taken when applying for an ID card, so Minister Plasterk announced today. A possible injunction by Privacy First is thus off the table.
Update 17 January 2014: The change in law to introduce fingerprint-free ID cards is today published in the Official Gazette. See also the accompanying Royal decree. The change in the law will take effect from Monday 20 January.