Key facts of the case:
- 'Using biometrics in information systems is never an insignificant choice, especially when the system in question concerns such a huge number of individuals. … They change irrevocably the relation between body and identity, in that they make the characteristics of the human body ‘machine-readable’ and subject to further use. Even if the biometric characteristics are not readable by the human eye, they can be read and used by appropriate tools, forever, wherever the person goes.’
- That warning by the European Data Protection Supervisor (2) is particularly relevant as the Court is now being asked to give a ruling on the validity, particularly in relation to the fundamental right to the protection of personal data, as laid down by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’), of the obligation imposed on the Member States by Council Regulation No 2252/2004 of 13 December 2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States, (3) as amended by Regulation (EC) No 444/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 May 2009 (4) (‘Regulation No 2252/2004, as amended’), to issue passports to their nationals only on the condition that they submit to having two of their fingerprints taken, the image of which is stored in the passport itself.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
In the light of the foregoing considerations I therefore propose that the Court give the following answer to the question submitted by the Verwaltungsgericht Gelsenkirchen:
Examination of the question referred has revealed nothing capable of affecting the validity of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation No 2252/2004 of 13 December 2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States, as amended by Article 1 of Regulation (EC) No 444/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 May 2009.