The Press, 6 May 2011: 'Wrong print in your passport'
"Our passports have poor quality fingerprints in them. On a chip. Stopping storing prints won't change that at all.
OK, we will stop storing fingerprints, minister Piet Hein Donner has said. And the prints already stored in hundreds of databases at municipalities will be destroyed. Why? Because, according to Donner, the quality of the prints is too poor. According to him, there is "too high a percentage of misses". Research at the municipality of Roermond showed that 21 per cent of the printouts were of such poor quality that, according to the mayor of that place, they were 'not verifiable'.
But those same prints, many of which are therefore bad, are still just on our passports. In a chip. And that will not change at all. They are already on more than five million passports and identity cards, soon on many more. So end of databases is not end of problems.
If customs is going to take a print from a Dutch finger anywhere in the world soon, and compare it with the print stored in the chip, there is a significant chance that the two prints will not match. It could lead to people being accused of identity fraud. Civil rights organisation Privacy First believes that due to "the high error rate", the minister should therefore "consider" stopping storing fingerprints on the passport itself.
'It is not implausible that the trial in Roermond is representative for the whole of the Netherlands,' says biometrics specialist Max Snijder, who conducted research for the Scientific Council for Government Policy and the European Commission. Indeed, he says, Roermond is basically operating in a similar way to other places in the Netherlands. 'The training programmes for officials taking prints are the same everywhere, as is the equipment used'.
'Citizens can become the dupe of the finger scan,' Roermond mayor Henk van Beers wrote back in November 2009 in a letter to then state secretary Ank Bijleveld, a month after the introduction of the mandatory fingerprint. The mayor was shocked by the outcome of the investigation into the quality of fingerprints in some 450 travel documents. However, Bijleveld did nothing at all with the information from the letter; it was only last month that the Chamber heard about the investigation in Roermond. Other municipalities, as far as we know, have not conducted any investigations. (...)"
Read HERE the entire article in The Press (p. 3).