Minors will have to provide fingerprints for new Belgian ID card

Minors will have to provide fingerprints for new Belgian ID card
The fingerprints will be registered with those that are due a new ID-card during that period. Credit: Wikipedia

Children over 12 years of age will be required to provide fingerprint data to be recorded on the chip of their renewed identity card, according to reports. 

This follows the news that the new electronic identity card with fingerprints will be implemented in several municipalities as a test starting from next week.

While it was initially uncertain if minors would have to provide the same data, a Royal Decree at the end of December confirmed it would be so. 

The new ID-card containing fingerprints proved to be a controversial measure, approved in November 2018, despite the Data Protection Authority advising against it.

"Minors need to be protected and fingerprints are data that cannot be altered for life, so this is a very sensitive combination," Authority Chairman David Stevens told VRT. "Fingerprints are very sensitive data to lose or to be used for malicious purposes. If I lose my password or my account is hacked, I can change my password. My fingerprint doesn't," he added.

The new design will replace the current one, which has been in force since 2002. The new eID, which also has a new layout, will comply with “the strict international rules aimed at making identity checks more efficient,” said the FPS Domestic Affairs, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

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In February, a study by the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (COSIC) research group of the KU Leuven concluded that the measure was “unclear, redundant, disproportionate, and the impact full of risks," as previously reported. 

The FPS Domestic Affairs says that it has “read and analysed” the KU Leuven study, according to spokesman Peter Grouwels. “We took into account some things that we thought were apt, but we did not see the need for most of them. We were not convinced by the arguments that were put forward,” he added, according to the Belga press agency.

Different colours will also be used, and the photo will be on the left of the card instead of the right side. The new design will be presented officially for the first time on Tuesday.

When the new eID will be implemented throughout the country will depend on the outcome of the tests.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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