Privacy First demands openness on new Passport Act
Bottom stone in biometric passport file needs to surface.
An important Hearing on the new Passport Act place. However, among a dozen agencies, top officials and experts involved, the most important party was conspicuous by its absence: the Agency for Personal Records and Travel Documents (BPR). Agency BPR was expressly invited to today's hearing and was already on the list of participants. Last Monday however, it became known That Minister Donner has still blocked BPR's participation.
Agency BPR falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs and has long been the national 'spider in the web' of the new Passport Act. However, under the leadership of agency BPR, this web has become so closed that hardly anyone knows what has been going on in recent years. This led the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) in 2009 to refer to the biometric passport as a 'black box' that needed to be broken open. Subsequently, however, the WRR barely succeeded. This came as no surprise to those familiar with agency BPR: the 'bastion' BPR has for years been known as one of the most closed government organisations in the Netherlands. From other departments, there are structural complaints about BPR about poor cooperation and poor handling of criticism. This was again evident today during the hearing on the new Passport Act, in which three former civil servants explained how, after criticism of the biometric passport by BPR, they to persona non grata had been declared.
Commissioned by BPR, numerous investigations, feasibility studies and pilots on the biometric passport have been conducted. However, many of these studies have never been published. At the same time, the public conclusions of these studies mostly indicate a tunnel vision to introduce biometrics.
By blocking agency BPR's participation in this hearing, Minister Donner is raising suspicions that something is wrong here. That something stinks here. That there may be an unprecedented cesspool here. A cesspool that comes at the expense of the right to privacy of 16 million Dutch citizens and also damages the security and image of the Netherlands.
The lid of this cesspool must come off. To this end, starting today, Privacy First is filing a series of WOB requests with all relevant agencies at home and abroad. After all, the bottom line in the biometric passport file needs to come out.
If Minister Donner has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear 😉