Fingerprinting storage temporarily frozen

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Optical storage of fingerprints taken for biometric passports is to be temporarily scrapped. Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner will debate the question in parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

Commercial broadcaster RTL broke the news about biometric passports data storage , citing political sources. 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 fingerprinting data storage, but has now joined the Labour and Christian Union parties in opposing the passport law.  

Storage reliability questionable VVD MPJeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said doubts about the system’s reliability and error margin, as well as potential manipulation had 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 proposals security standards in response to a US demand that a visa would have to be issued to visitors unless biometric identifiers – a facial image and a finger print – were included in their passports.  

Wednesday’s parliamentary debate is centred on the storage of the fingerprinting data, not on the issue of  whether to embed the information in a passport, which many people object to.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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