“Ah, fingerprints on the eID. What’s the worst than can happen?”.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a fierce debate online on Minister Jan Jambon’s proposal. The bill is not new, as the idea dates back to 2015. The Data Protection Authority (the new Privacy Commission) was and is very critical about the inclusion of fingerprints on the eID. It argues that such a large invasion of our private life is not proportionate to the objective. There are only a few hundred cases of identity fraud in our country each year. In order to tackle this, the Jambon Cabinet considers it neccessary for 11 million Belgians to hand over their fingerprints to the government.
However, protests didn’t just come from privacy, legal or technical experts. On Twitter, the #ikweiger (#Irefuse) movement spontaneously arose, deployed by ordinary citizens who are rightly concerned with this data hungry government.
We live in frightening times, at least according to our governments (worldwide). Anonymous SIM-cards were abolished (because terrorists all call with a prepaid SIM, right?), mass ANPR-cameras networks are being installed on our Belgian roads, and as the icing on the cake, we are all treated as potential criminals. Enough is enough.
There is a time of writing opinions, and there is a time to act. In recent years, I have written quite a lot in Belgian media about the diminishing of our individual privacy by the Belgian government. It is now time to act. It is now time for the Constitutional Court to look at the actions of the Minister of Security and to what extent they are still compatible with our democratic freedoms and rights, as set out in our Constitution.
Undoubtedly to be continued.
Managing partner deJuristen.
"THIS ISN'T A CASE OF ONE CITIZEN"
The case before the Constitutional Court is not a project of one citizen. It is a matter for the people. The vast majority of us do not want to live in a society or country where we are all treated as (potential) criminals. The surrender of a fingerprint is only justified in the event of a conviction, innocent citizens should not donate fingerprints to a government. The constant and ever growing hunger for data of governments, is a cause of great concern.