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Privacy First on appeal

On 2 February this year, the District Court of The Hague handed down its judgment in the civil Passport lawsuit filed on 6 May 2010 by Privacy First Foundation and 21 co-plaintiffs (citizens) against the Dutch State. The main claim in this lawsuit is that the new Passport Act should be declared unlawful for violating human rights, in particular the right to privacy. However, to many people's surprise, on 2 February the court declared both Privacy First and the 21 co-claimants inadmissible. For this reason, the court did not get around to considering the substantive issues of law on the new Passport Act. 

Notable to the judgment is first of all its brevity. Privacy First therefore cannot escape the impression that the court wanted to get rid of the case quickly. The court justified the judgment by stating that Privacy First would have no interest of its own in this case and that for the co-claimants only the way to the administrative court would be open. This while Privacy First, as an idealistic foundation on the matter, was precisely all interest in the matter and citizens can hardly object administratively to the storage of their fingerprints for a new passport or identity card. Such objection is only possible through a long, cumbersome administrative procedure.

Privacy First has decided to appeal the court's judgment. After analysis by our lawyers at SOLV, we consider the judgment to be eminently arguable, particularly with regard to the inadmissibility of both Privacy First and the co-owners. (This analysis is shared by other lawyers.) The appeal will take place at the Court of Appeal of The Hague. After 'overruling' the earlier inadmissibility, the case will still be able to be dealt with substantively there.

Read pdfHERE Privacy First's press release announcing the appeal.

Update 17 Feb 2011: also read the entry in Webwereld.