Mobile fingerprint scanners? Not in my backyard.
This summer it was already announced (and by Privacy First commented), but yesterday it appeared in the media again: this autumn, four regional police forces will launch a pilot conduct with mobile fingerprint scanners to detect illegal aliens. In official jargon, this pilot project is called a "learning garden", according to the long-awaited answering (after three months) of previous Parliamentary questions. So what might our best friends in the police force start learning in the garden called the Netherlands? Privacy First lists possible learning moments for you in advance:
1) collectively invading other people's privacy and physical integrity by fingerprinting anyone who might be 'illegal' in the eyes of uncle cop,
2) which will most likely involve discriminatory 'enforcement', ethnic profiling and increasing stigmatisation of certain population groups,
3) initially targeted primarily at 'illegal' aliens (undocumented migrants), but then undoubtedly also at other groups and eventually at every citizen, for example for the collection of outstanding fines or tax debts (in technical jargon: target shifting or function creep),
4) while this year already proved that the current state of biometric technology (with current error rates in passports and ID cards of at least 21%) is still in its infancy and not suitable for mass use,
5) with all its consequences, including false suspicions and unjustified placements in immigration detention, mutual feelings of insecurity and risks of irritation, confrontation and aggression on the streets,
6) not to mention possible data breaches and hacking of the equipment used,
7) all this without public Privacy Impact Assessment and cost-benefit analysis on the matter.
Dangerous toys, then, those mobile fingerprint scanners. Our advice is: don't start. After all, this "learning garden" constitutes a veritable privacy swamp.