Privacy International condemns compulsory ID in NL

By EDRi · November 3, 2004

Privacy International has expressed grave concern about new Dutch legislation for extended compulsory identification. From 1 January 2005 every Dutchman (and tourist) 14 years and older will have to wear ID, and can be fined up to 2.250 euro for not immediately showing ID when asked to do so by any police official, or related officials, such as foresters and custom officials.

A new government advertising campaign, launched this week, is targeted at children between 14 and 18, to make sure they buy an identity card in time. Officially the Netherlands only have an obligation to show ID when asked, but in the campaign children are told flat-out they have to always wear ID.

Last year Privacy International already warned that the identity legislation would violate both the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child. Seeing the new campaign, PI warned that the campaign was an ‘underhanded’ attempt to convince innocent citizens to forego their legal rights. A legally enforced requirement to carry identification would invite a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights, says Simon Davies, the director of Privacy International.

Davies says: “The indiscriminate identity requirement offends a core principle of the rule of law: that citizens should have notice of the circumstances in which the State may conduct surveillance, so that they can regulate their behaviour to avoid unwanted intrusions. Moreover, the requirement would be so extensive as to be out of all proportion to the law enforcement objectives served. Under the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, such a disproportionate interference in the private lives of individuals cannot be said to be necessary in a democratic society.”

Government ID campaign

EDRI-gram 19, ‘Dutch compulsory identification above 14 years’ (08.10.2003)

EDRI-gram 24, ‘Dutch Lower House accepts compulsory identification’ (18.12.2003)