In 2021, fingerprints will become mandatory on ID cards. Data protectionists criticize the new law. But something is also to change in the passport in the future.
- From August 2021, fingerprints will be mandatory on ID cards.
- Data protectionists see great dangers for privacy in the new law.
- The passport and children’s passport are also affected by changes.
In the coming years, there are to be some changes to the identity card. Among other things, the fees for a new application will increase and the fingerprint will become mandatory. This has decided the Bundestag on Thursday (05.11.2020). New law should protect the identity card against forgery
As early as August 2021, newly issued identity cards must contain two fingerprints. With this decision, the Bundestag implements European law. Until now, the storage of fingerprints has been voluntary.
Four years later, in May 2025, new requirements for passport photos will also come into force. These must then be created exclusively digitally and submitted to the passport authority by secure means. Another option would be to have the passport photos taken directly on site. In any case, printed photos from the photographer may no longer be used. These measures are intended to protect the ID card more effectively against forgery in the future.
Fingerprints on ID cards: data protectionists criticize the law
However, the Digitalcourage association, which campaigns for data protection and unhindered communication, fears inappropriate surveillance structures. In an official statement, the association comments on the law and emphasizes that the collection of highly sensitive biometric data in the ID card, such as fingerprints, would be disproportionate to the rare cases in which it could really help investigators.
In addition, Digitalcourage sees long-term dangers for IT security and privacy in the law. Among other things, the data protectionists point out that fingerprints are used by many people as keys or passwords for smartphones.
ID card to become more expensive under new law
According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the identity card will cost 37 euros instead of 28.80 euros starting next year. In return, the new law will eliminate fees for subsequent activation of the eID function, as well as for redefining the secret number and unblocking the electronic identity card.
Currently, fees of 6 euros are still charged for each of these services. The elimination of these costs is intended to strengthen the dissemination and use of the online ID function, the Federal Ministry of the Interior adds. Not in the ID card, but in the passport: Additional gender information now possible thanks to law
In addition to the identity card, the passport is also affected by innovations: People who do not feel they belong to any gender will in future be able to carry an “X” in their passport instead of an “M” for man or an “F” for woman, thanks to the new law. This change should come into force as soon as possible – possibly this year.
However, anyone who has registered with the German authorities as diverse or without a gender can continue to use the previous gender indication in their passport. This is intended to prevent possible discrimination abroad. Children’s passport: biometrics as with the ID card – how the validity remains despite the law
But even the children’s passport is not spared from changes. Thus the Bundesrat explains in the bill that children’s passports are now no longer to be valid for six years, but only for one year. Under the new law, however, it would be possible to extend the period of validity by one year at a time. However, if a child already has a biometrics-capable passport, similar to an ID card, the six-year validity will remain in place.