Passport Trial

Since 2010, Privacy First, together with 19 co-plaintiffs (Dutch citizens), has been conducting a large-scale lawsuit against one of the worst privacy violations in Dutch history: the storage of everyone's fingerprints under the new Dutch Passport Act. Partly under pressure from this lawsuit, the storage of fingerprints was largely halted.

Wooden court gavel

Under the new Dutch Passport Act of 2009, the fingerprints of anyone who applied for a Dutch passport or identity card was to be stored in a central database for a variety of purposes. This constituted a flagrant violation of everyone's right to privacy. In May 2010, Privacy First therefore, led by SOLV Attorneys, sued the Dutch government in civil proceedings in order to have the storage of fingerprints under the Passport Act to be declared unlawful due to violation of European privacy law. Partly under pressure of this lawsuit, the Dutch House of Representatives and Minister Donner (Internal Affairs) subsequently yielded and the storage of fingerprints was largely halted in 2011. Thereafter, the challenged provisions of the Passport Act were also partially repealed and in 2014 the mandatory collection of fingerprints for identity cards was abolished. On appeal, the Court of Appeal of The Hague subsequently ruled that the earlier storage of fingerprints had been unlawful due to violation of the right to privacy. Nexthowever, in 2015, the Supreme Court declared the case of Privacy First to be inadmissible. Thereafter in 2016 however, the Dutch Council of State ruled in parallel administrative law cases in a similar critical manner as the Hague Court of Appeal had done earlier. As a result, the Dutch ban on storing everyone's fingerprints in databases since then still stands as a certainty.