No more national fingerprint database?

27th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Fingerprints taken for biometric passports will - temporarily - not be stored in a national database. Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner will debate the question in parliament on Wednesday afternoon. Support for creating a national database has weakened recently. The free-market liberal VVD - the largest coalition party in government – was originally in favour of storing fingerprint data, but has now joined the Labour and Christian Union parties in opposing the passport law. Storage reliability questionable VVD MP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said doubts about the system’s reliability, error margin, and potential for manipulation led her party to reconsider their stance. The Socialist Party, the democrat party D66, Green Left and the Animal Welfare Party opposed the central database from the outset.

All newly-issued Dutch passports contain a chip carrying the holder's fingerprints. The feature is aimed at preventing identity fraud. The EU harmonised security standards after the US threatened to require visas for EU visitors unless biometric identifiers – a facial image and a finger print – were included in their passports.

Wednesday’s parliamentary debate is centred on the data storage, not on the issue of whether to embed the information in a passport, which has also faced much criticism.

Commercial broadcaster RTL broke the news, citing "political sources". jn/ae

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