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EU Court To Rule on Legality of Including Biometrics on ID Cards

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In a crucial legal development, the European Court of Justice is set to pass judgment on a case that calls into question the conformity of fingerprint data storage on identity cards with the European Union regulations. The case, originating in Germany, examines if this practice stands in compliance with the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and its data protection laws.

The case’s genesis was in 2021, when an individual hailing from Wiesbaden, Germany, sought a new identity card. However, the individual declined to provide fingerprint biometrics, which resulted in the city authorities refusing to issue the identification card.

This led to a legal conflict as EU law mandated the inclusion of fingerprint data on ID cards since 2021. The individual’s refusal set the stage for the escalation of the case, which was taken up by the campaign group Digitalcourage, and subsequently made its way to the European Court of Justice.

At the heart of the dispute is the tension between the requirement to incorporate fingerprint data on ID cards and the rights and privacy of individuals. Digitalcourage contends that the storage of fingerprints on ID cards is not in line with the fundamental right to respect for private and family life and personal data. The advocacy group argues that the inclusion of “full images” of fingerprints on the card chips runs counter to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data minimization principle.

An advisor is encouraging the EU to rule in the way of forcing biometrics to be included on the ID.

As the European Court of Justice gears up to make a ruling, the ramifications of this decision are anticipated to be far-reaching, setting a precedent for the balance between ensuring the freedom of movement within the European Union and upholding the fundamental rights and data privacy of its citizens.

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