- Category: News
- Created on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 14:57
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
The passports, which contain a copy of the owner’s fingerprint stored on a chip, failed to detect a match in more than 20 per cent of tests.
The Dutch began introducing the passports in 1998, but speeded up the process in response to the September 11 terror attacks three years later.
As a result, the technical difficulties were underestimated and the system was not scrutinised properly, said Roel Bekker, who was asked by the interior ministry to study the issue.
Mr Bekker said: ‘The terror threat meant that the system had to be introduced at high speed.
‘But using fingerprints to detect criminal suspects is a different matter from using them on a large scale in passports. The Netherlands wanted to be ahead of developments.’
Since 2009 it has been compulsory for anybody requesting a new passport to give a fingerprint. The idea is to prevent people travelling with stolen documents belonging to someone who looks like them.
Last year it emerged that senior officials had ignored warnings about data security at the central database where fingerprint information for the passports is kept.
At least seven court cases are currently outstanding involving people who have refused to give a fingerprint because they argue it is an invasion of privacy.