As you may have heard, the EU countries are planning to collect biometric data of citizens in Europe. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) considers the collection to be "absolutely necessary". But why?
The fingerprints and biometric photos are to be stored on a chip in each new identity card. So the ID cards should be safer from fraud and identity theft.
However, the ID documents are actually very secure. The EU border agency Frontex has reported a sharp decline in falsified documents on entry in recent years, despite the increase in entry numbers. Here, of course, the question arises: Okay, why does Mr Seehofer want to enforce this law so urgently? Is it really for our safety, or just another step in the surveillance of the people?
In Germany, police and intelligence services are already having automated access to biometric data for passport and ID card holders as a result of a change in legislation ahead of the 2017 federal elections.
At the moment, constitutional complaints of the Society for Freedom of the Law are running against this automated access.
It is argued that the collection of biometric data could lead to "intelligent video surveillance".
The storage of fingerprints thus goes beyond the purpose of identity cards. One should not lose sight of the risk of illegal data retrieval.
The European Data Protection Supervisor issued an opinion on this subject, stressing that identity cards could be made safer without such drastic means.