Sargasso, 31 March 2011: 'Alliance calls for European investigation into use of biometrics'
"An international alliance of civil society organisations and individuals is calling on the Council of Europe in a petition to launch an in-depth investigation into the collection and storage of biometric data by member states.
Governments are increasingly demanding biometric data (especially fingerprints and facial scans) from people. These personal data are stored on contactless 'RFID' chips in passports and/or identity cards. Some countries, such as the Netherlands, France and Lithuania, go even further and even store them in databases.
The alliance of more than 80 signatories has written to Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjørn Jagland to ask the countries concerned to clarify as soon as possible whether their legislation on this issue complies with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. The Secretary-General has this power under Article 52 ECHR.
Among the rights at stake are the right to humane treatment (Art. 3 ECHR), security (Art. 5), a fair trial (Art. 6, presumption of innocence and prohibition of self-incrimination), physical integrity and family and private life (Art. 8, privacy), effective domestic remedies (Art. 13), the prohibition of discrimination (Art. 14) and the right to leave your country (Art. 2 Protocol 4).
"Article 52 clearly designates the Secretary General of the Council of Europe as the protector of fundamental rights that are endangered by this course of action. We stress that national biometrics regulations (often in combination with other laws) must not lead to 'killing democracy under the guise of defending it'," the alliance warns.
Signatories notably include digital, civil and human rights protectors, media, legal and medical organisations, scientists, politicians and victims without passports due to objections to the issue and storage of their biometric data.
In the Netherlands, the petition was supported by, among others, the Platform for the Protection of Civil Rights (and its members Bits of Freedom, DeVrijePsych, the Humanistisch Verbond, KDVP, Meldpunt Misbruik Identificatieplicht, Ouders Online, Privacy First and Vereniging Vrijbit), ICT Recht, Het Nieuwe Rijk, PrivacyBarometer, Privacy Nieuws and Vrijschrift. From the political world, GroenLinks senator Tineke Strik, Young Democrats, Piratenpartij, SP faction Zaanstad and D66 faction Oldenzaal signed."
Read HERE the whole article on Sargasso.