In its fight against identity theft, for eight years Belgium has included fingerprints for its citizens within a microchip on their passport. However, as Knack reports on Wednesday, nobody has ever been checked.
The Spokesman and Head of Communication at the FPS Foreign Affairs, Didier Vanderhasselt, confirms, “For now, digital fingerprints on e-passports can only be read by the FPS Foreign Affairs.” They cannot therefore be checked at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, by foreign officials at European borders, or even by the Belgian communes, which issue these passports.
However, Belgium has been gathering fingerprints since 2010, for all citizens aged over 12 years. In the meantime, more than two million people have received a biometric passport.
Didier Vanderhasselt asserts that in 2018, the entire system will overhauled. He says, “Both communes and Belgian consulates will be able to compare the fingerprints of an individual requesting a new passport, to those taken in respect of his or her previous passport.” The FPS Foreign Affairs says that collaboration with other European countries in this sphere is also moving forward.