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Identity card: New identity card with fingerprints and passport photo terminal

Last updated on March 9, 2021

Fingerprints should also be made mandatory in identity cards. That causes severe criticism.

Fingerprints should be mandatory in the identity card. (Image: ar130405 / Pixabay )

Fingerprints are to be stored on ID cards in future; they were previously voluntary. This is provided for in a federal government bill. The fees for ID cards and passports are also expected to rise. The data protection community vehemently criticizes the plans.

So far, the prints of the two index fingers were only mandatory on the passports, they could be voluntarily deposited on the ID cards. Now they should be mandatory on both documents. The fingerprints should only be stored on the internal RFID chip, while the passport photos are also stored in the identity card or passport register, which can be accessed by the police and secret services, for example.

According to the draft law, it should in future be possible to create biometric passport photos in photo booths in the passport and ID card authorities. ID and passport will be 6 euros more expensive, as reported by Spiegel .

In addition to the passport photo terminals, photo studios and photographers are still allowed to take purely digital passport photos . However, they would have to be able to send the recordings to the registration offices via a secure connection. A passport photo brought along should no longer be accepted. The background to this are processes (morphing) with which passport photos can be manipulated in such a way that several people can use the ID card. The artist collective Peng offered the opportunity to upload a photo to a website and merge it with another .

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Criticism from the data protection community

The passport photo terminals are to be made available by Bundesdruckerei. The cost of the conversion is estimated at EUR 171 million. "The federal government is destroying a well-functioning system without need," said Green Party politician Konstantin von Notz. "With the exception of Bundesdruckerei, there are only losers from this reform." An increase in security, however, is questionable.

"The planned duty amounts to a general suspicion against citizens" and is disproportionate, criticized the civil rights organization Digitalcourage in an opinion for the Bundestag . The draft law is to be discussed again there soon.

"The availability of state quality-assured, automatically readable photos from passports and ID cards with allocation databases available on the market (such as Clearview AI) or the BKA's facial recognition system increases the risk that people will be identified by their face without the person concerned being aware of it." , states the former state data protection officer Thilo Weichert in a report by the data protection expertise network .

Therefore, a regulation must be included in the identity card and passport laws that prohibit the comparison of biometric data with other electronic files. Weichert explains that the European legal obligation to include fingerprints in the ID card is a disproportionate interference with the fundamental rights to data protection under Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

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