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Webwereld, 8 Aug 2012: 'Council of State: no passport without fingerprint'

The highest administrative court draws a line under all biometric conscientious objections to fingerprints in passports for now. Refusers will be denied a passport or temporary ID card.

Another setback for the fighters against including biometric data in passports. In a preliminary judgment, the Council of State rules against the complainant Myrthe Roest. She refused on principle to give her fingerprints when she applied for her passport, because it violated her right to privacy.

No fingerprint, no ID card

In response, the Amsterdam municipality did not process her application. A temporary identity card without fingerprints was also out of the question.

Rust went to the administrative court. The council now rules that officials cannot issue a passport without digital fingerprints on the chip, as this is regulated at European level.

"Issuing a passport without fingerprints would mean disapplying European rules. This is only possible if there is serious doubt as to whether those rules comply with the right to privacy. In the preliminary opinion of the Council of State 'there is insufficient ground for that serious doubt'," writes the top administrative court.

Soil procedures ongoing

However, this is an interlocutory case, and there are some proceedings on the merits, where the matter will be thoroughly investigated.

Civil rights movement Privacy First is disappointed with the verdict. According to spokesperson Vincent Böhre, the municipality should definitely have issued a temporary ID card, as it is not covered by EU rules. Moreover, the Lower House wants to get rid of the biometric passport. "In addition, there is actually a biometric error rate of 21-25 per cent and the fingerprints stored in the document (partly for this reason) are not used at all," Böhre said.

Lakei of the EC

"With this verdict, this judge shows himself to be primarily a lackey of the European Commission rather than a servant of human rights at home in this case. It is to be hoped that the Council of State will still show legal backbone when ruling in three similar proceedings on the merits."

This judgment on the merits is expected in mid-September."

Source: Webworld