ECJ to rule on the biometric passports

By EDRi · October 10, 2012

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Deutsch: [EuGH befasst sich mit biometrischen Reisepässen |]

The Dutch administrative court asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ)
whether the EU Regulation obliging member states to store fingerprints
in passports and travel documents infringes the right to privacy.

This is a result of four cases in which Dutch applicants had been
refused the issuing of their passports because they did not accept to
provide their fingerprints. Since 2009, the Netherlands has introduced
the obligation to store fingerprints in passports and identity cards.
The fingerprints were stored in a database to be used for investigation
purposes, but recently, the storage has been suspended. The Dutch court
referred the cases to ECJ asking, among other things whether it should
be safeguarded whether the fingerprints are used for no other purposes
than the issuance of a passport or identity card.

The cases are suspended pending the answers of the European Court of
Justice. The Dutch court also asked questions on the biometric ID card
and function creep.

Similarly, in Germany, following a law suit brought to the
Administrative Court Gelsenkirchen by a German citizen who had been
denied the issuance of his passport for having refused to provide his
fingerprints, the German court has challenged the same EU regulation to ECJ.

The German court considers the EU has no legislative competence to enact
rules on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and
travel documents as there is no direct relation of such rules to the
protection and security of EU external frontiers. Such rules should
comply with the right to privacy as covered by the European Convention
on Human Rights and the protection of personal data.
“Is Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 of 13 December
2004, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 444/2009 of the European
Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009, valid?” was the court’s

The Council of State asks questions to the Court of Justice in
Luxembourg about stored fingerprints for passports and identity cards
(only in Dutch, 28.09.2012)

German Court challenges EU Regulation on security standards for
passports and travel documents (3.10.2012)

German ECJ case

EFF: Highest Court in the European Union To Rule On Biometrics Privacy (15.10.2012)

Case C-291/12, Michael Schwarz – No fingerprints? No passport. An invalid EC Regulation?

(Thanks to Ot van Daalen – EDRi-member Bits of Freedom – Netherlands)