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Radio 1 (NOS), 20 November 2017: 'Cabinet must stop fingerprints in passport'

"The cabinet should immediately work on stopping the inclusion of fingerprints in passports. So argues Vincent Böhre of the Privacy First foundation in response to the news that fingerprints of Dutch citizens are currently hardly used.

Although it has been compulsory for eight years to provide fingerprints for inclusion in passports, they are never checked at Schiphol Airport, at the border or abroad, it emerged yesterday NIS enquiry.

Only municipalities use the fingerprints in occasional cases, such as when there is doubt about someone's identity. "That happens once or twice a year," says team leader Jan Jansen of the city counter in Breda. "It may also be that the police approach us if the identity of a deceased person cannot be established. Then we can provide a printout of the fingerprint."

The storage of fingerprints in a chip on passports follows a European regulation. The prints are not stored in a central database because a law on the subject failed in the Netherlands.

Privacy violations

For privacy lawyer Böhre, it is nothing new that hardly anything else is happening with fingerprints. He has been drawing attention to the issue for years. Since 2009, about 20 million fingerprints have been taken from Dutch citizens. According to Böhre, that is "20 million privacy violations".

Under the law, citizens' privacy may only be violated by the government if there is necessity and proportionality. It must have demonstrable utility. That is completely lacking here, says Böhre in the NOS Radio 1 News. "After eight years, you really have to start drawing conclusions. It costs an awful lot of money, time and effort. And all for nothing."

Source:, Monday morning, 20 November 2017. Listen to the entire interview on Radio 1 below: