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    EU Observer: Security trumps privacy, EU court says

    EU Observer reports on a case concerning the privacy of fingerprints in Europe:

    BRUSSELS – Ensuring protection against the fraudulent use of passports outweighs personal privacy concerns about mandatory fingerprinting, the European Union’s top court said Thursday.

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Thursday (17 October) that although the taking and storing of fingerprints for passports breached privacy and personal data rights, it did not breach the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and was in line with EU law.

    Article eight of the Charter includes an explicit right to the protection of personal data, but the Luxembourg-based Court ruled that the infringement of privacy was justified because fingerprinting reduced fraud. […]

    The court also noted that the legislation explicitly states that the fingerprint data can only be used to verify identity and the authenticity of a passport.

    The use of biometric data to track travellers and police border control remains a highly charged issue across the EU and elsewhere. […]

    Meanwhile, government ministers and MEPs in Brussels are currently scrutinising plans unveiled by the European Commission to fingerprint anyone who enters the EU under its “smart borders” proposal at an estimated cost of over €1 billion.

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