“I do not understand the debate” around the presence of fingerprints on identity cards, Interior Minister Jan Jambon (New Flemish Alliance, N-VA) said on Sunday on the Zevende Dag (Seventh Day) show on VRT. The Interior Minister said he saw no difference between fingerprints and photos. “I think privacy is in no danger,” he said.
The Chamber’s Interior Commission on Wednesday approved a bill from the Ministry in charge of the National Registry to include fingerprints, in particular, on identity cards.
Jambon said terrorism had highlighted the importance of identity scams. To curb such crimes, he wished to introduce fingerprints on the ID cards as is already the case for passports. The process is to begin in April 2019 and should take 10 years, by which time all current holders of the old (non-fingerprinted) ID cards would have received the new ones.
However, the measure has sparked questions, particularly on respect for privacy. “I really don’t see why,” Jambon said. “If photos can be printed on cards, why not fingerprints.” He stressed that between 2016 and 2018, identity-card frauds increased from 400 to one thousand, whereas those linked to passports decreased by 75%.
The bill would also allow the National Registry, “which enjoys the highest security standards,” to automatically contact various companies (insurance, telephone etc.) in the event of a change of address, death or a name-change.
However, for this to be done, the citizen will need to authorize it, Jambon explained.