At what age are your fingerprints permanent

Fingerprints in the ID card - what to do? #PersoWithoutFinger

(German version of this article)

Amendment dated November 6, 2020: On Thursday, November 5, 2020, the Bundestag decided with the votes of the SPD and CDU / CSU that fingerprints are mandatory in identity cards. Now is the time until August 2, 2021 to apply for identity cards without fingerprints, so go to the citizens' office and ask for #PersoOhneFinger. The newly issued #PersoOhneFinger are valid for 10 years. However, we want to stop the general fingerprint obligation without cause and in the long term and are therefore examining legal options. We look forward to your support!

Amendment dated November 3, 2020: There are updates in the articles: #PersoOhneFinger - Digital courage in the Interior Committee from October 26, 2020 and Help: No to fingerprint compulsory! from 10/27/2020.

Amendment dated August 7, 2020: In response to #PersoOhneFinger, people write to us that citizens' offices have insisted on giving fingerprints for years, although this is still voluntary until August 2, 2021! We gues:
1. Complain in writing to the citizens' office
2. Complain in writing to the citizen service of the Federal Ministry of the Interior: [email protected]
3. Apply for an identity card without fingerprints (short: #PersoOhneFinger). (For more information, just read this article.)
4. Spread this article via e-mail, e-mailing lists or on social media, share a tweet / tweet
→ We are interested in the reactions and answers from the authorities. Please send an email to: [email protected] or #PersoOhneFinger in Fediverse or on Twitter.

Amendment dated August 4, 2020: If you want to apply for an identity card without fingerprints in good time, you should note that it can take more than six weeks to get an appointment to apply for a #PersoOhneFinger at citizens' offices / citizen services. So: take care in time! And: Anyone who has an ID card that is still valid for a longer period of time can only apply for a new one if the old one is damaged or lost; or with a legitimate interest according to the Personalausweisgesetz §6 (2), see gesetze-im-internet.de, a website of the Ministry of Justice

From August 2, 2021, the storage of fingerprints on ID cards will become compulsory: Despite criticism from data protection and fundamental rights organizations, the governments of the EU countries and a narrow majority in the EU Parliament passed a regulation in 2019 to increase the security of ID cards and residence documents. A German law for implementation is already in progress. From August 2, 2021, this will force everyone to give an impression of their left and right index fingers without cause. Millions of legally compliant people are treated like suspects. We consider this to be undemocratic and advise:

All people who want an identity card without fingerprints should have one before the beginning of the storage requirement Apply for identity card without fingerprints. You're welcome also become politically active against the law! More about this under: Get active now. #PersoWithoutFinger

With this regulation, digital courage sees the dignity of all affected people being attacked and assesses the law as violating fundamental rights. The compulsory and indiscriminate submission of biometric data does not correspond to the values ​​of constitutional states and democracies, but to police states' addiction to control.

In Germany, giving fingerprints for identity cards has so far been voluntary. (However, it is already mandatory for passports.) Citizens can currently still choose whether their new identity card should contain fingerprints or not. In practice, however, people are often not informed about the voluntary nature and consequences of fingerprints. Many people are tempted to give their fingerprints at the moment of submitting their application.

From August 2, 2021, voluntary surrender will be compulsory: From then on, the fingerprints are stored locally on a chip in the identity cards. The EU regulation 2019/1157, which contains the fingerprint requirement, was passed in 2019 with votes from Germany. With the law to strengthen security in passport, identity card and immigration law document systems (see on bmi.bund.de), the German identity card law is adjusted accordingly. Anyone who currently has a valid identity card can use it until the stated validity expires - there is no obligation to apply for an identity card with fingerprints from August 2, 2021. We therefore recommend applying for an identity card without fingerprints before August 2, 2021 in order to be able to use this 10 year, more under: become active.
Note: If prints cannot be taken due to wear and tear on the fingertips or injuries, ID cards without fingerprints will be issued for 12 months:

The topic is on the Bundestag agenda for September 10, 2020, see bundestag.de. However, this can change at short notice.

"Article 4: 3. Member States shall issue an identity card with a period of validity of twelve months or less if none of the fingerprints can temporarily be taken for physical reasons. (see page 8 of the regulation on eur-lex.europa.eu) "

Good to know: The Citizens Service of the Federal Ministry of the Interior is responsible for questions about identity cards: personalausweisportal.de:
The telephone service hotline is available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fees: 3.9 ct / min. from the German landline network, from the mobile network max. 42 ct / min., also accessible from abroad
Phone: 0180-1-33 33 33
Email: [email protected]

From our point of view, the obligation to provide fingerprints is a mistake because it contains political, technical, fundamental rights and ethical dangers, but does not solve any problems.

  • Lifelong control: A fingerprint is a biometric feature that makes a person controllable for a lifetime. If need be, people can change their name and place of residence, for example to protect themselves from persecution or threats. Biometric data such as fingerprints do not allow that.
  • Assault instead of protection: The indiscriminate and massive biometric recording of fingerprints is a useless and dangerous attack by the state on the population. Democracies and constitutional states have the task of protecting citizens from such attacks.
  • Freedom is gradually being abolished: Monitoring and control measures are always being expanded and tightened, but almost never scaled back. Without a change of political course, millions of types of sensitive biometric data will be collected, stored and used for all possible purposes in the future.
  • Access extension risk: In Germany, the police and secret services have been able to automatically access biometric passport photos from ID cards since 2017. There is little control by supervisory authorities. Expanding access to fingerprints seems only a matter of time.
  • Loss of control by third countries: By "Worldwide interoperability - including machine readability and visual inspection" (Recital No. 23), the biometric data can also reach authorities in states in which civil liberties are not protected. Here at the latest there is no control over where the citizens' biometric data go.
  • Loss of control by companies: At "Cooperation with an external service provider" (Recital No. 42) private companies can also have access to the data, see also Article 11 "Protection of personal data and liability".
  • Loss of control by secret services: Following the revelations by Edward Snowden, the governments of the EU countries failed to effectively restrict the power of secret services. In the NSU scandal, the so-called German "Verfassungsschutz", who received a Big Brother Award for his life's work, hindered the investigation of terrorism. Secret services operate in an uncontrolled manner and are hostile to fundamental rights. It must be assumed that secret services will gain uncontrolled access to the biometric data of EU citizens.
  • Data networking risk: “Security” politicians are already working on a networked, EU-wide database structure with fingerprints, facial images and other biometric data, see netzpolitik.org of July 17, 2020 and our text on this topic. Databases of administrations, police, secret services and companies are constantly growing. (see programs: Next Generation Prüm, Police 2020, expansion of the Visa Information System or the Schengen Information System SIS II).
  • Children affected: According to the EU regulation, children from the age of 6 are recorded, with the individual governments of the EU countries having the option of exempting children up to the age of 12 from the obligation to provide fingerprints.
  • Illegitimate in democracies: Ralf Bendrath explains in his article "On the history of fingerprints in ID cards": “In Germany ID cards go back to the“ ID card ”introduced by the Nazis in 1938, which Jews were obliged to carry with them. (…) In Spain, the collection of fingerprints for the national identity card, which is still valid today, was introduced in 1940 during the Franco dictatorship. What is now being forced upon all citizens is clearly in the tradition of criminal regimes. " In France, the Vichy regime used the entry Jew on ID cards from 1942 to deport 76,000 people in the Holocaust. (More on lto.de from July 22, 2018: 80 years of identification: How a Nazi minister enforced the surveillance state)
  • Data security: The data of the stored fingerprints on the new identity cards can be read out contactlessly. A storage medium that cannot be cracked today can possibly be cracked in 10 years.

Alleged security politicians in the EU have long dreamed of a biometric super database, we inform about the plans.

Get active now!

Legal action against the EU fingerprint requirement is difficult due to the current legal powers of action at European level. But: A lot can be done about the German implementation law, which will probably be discussed in the Bundestag in autumn 2020.
We advise all people who want an identity card without fingerprints to apply for a fingerprint-free document until the beginning of the storage requirement.
But: New ID cards are valid for a maximum of 10 years. That is why it is necessary too to become politically active and to permanently change the laws at EU and federal level. There are the following options:

1. Write to your members of the Bundestag and explain your criticism of the compulsory fingerprints in the new ID cards. For example, demand that they speak out against the German implementation law and vote against it. The obligation is contained in the draft law to strengthen security in passport, identity card and immigration law document systems, see bmi.bund.de. The topic is currently on the agenda in the Bundestag for September 10, 2020. Bundestag.de has a list of members' contacts that can be sorted by federal state, postcode and constituency.
Important to know: Because the basis for the fingerprint obligation is an EU regulation to which the German laws are only being adapted, it is unfortunately unlikely that the Bundestag will muster the courage to change course. Nevertheless, in our opinion, this law must meet with loud criticism and widespread rejection from the population.
Primary are the governments of the EU countries and the Members of the EU Parliament responsible. We have linked in the info box who voted how in 2019. A searchable overview of all German EU MEPs is available on the EU Parliament's website, also sorted by federal state.

2. Help spread this information, via e-mail, websites, messenger groups and in social media: #PersoWithoutFinger

3. Do not choose surveillance parties.

4. (Update) Take part in our online campaign! With this you support our commitment.

A request: Let us know what you've done and what reactions you've got. Email to: [email protected] or in Fediverse or on Twitter: #PersoWithoutFinger

Regulation (EU) 2019/1157 was justified with certainty, "Especially in connection with terrorism and cross-border crime." (see recital 6). For security reasons, the obligation to provide fingerprints should make identity cards more forgery-proof.
However, due to the technical improvement of the characteristics, the number of forged documents is falling sharply, according to the EU border agency Frontex, (see PDF on frontex.europa.eu p. 22). The benefit of the regulation in preventing terrorism has not been established. The investigations into the NSU murders and the terrorist attack by Anis Amri have shown that the perpetrators were known to the authorities. A lack of data, a lack of monitoring and identification options were not the problem for the investigating authorities. Sascha Lobo explained this in the text Clear numbers against mass surveillance on netzpolitik.org.
The submission of millions of fingerprints by law-abiding citizens is unnecessary and not proportionate.

In our estimation, regulation (EU) 2019/1157 concerns safety theater to the detriment of the population:

A policy that attacks freedom and hawks it away bit by bit does not deserve to be called "security policy". ... We need a real security policy that actually makes us safer instead of threatening us. (more about security theater at Digitalcourage)

In 2019, the German government voted to require fingerprints in the Council of the European Union. The governments of Slovakia and the Czech Republic voted against the regulation. The latter has rated the mandatory tax for all people as disproportionate, see votewatch.eu.

Press articles

Backgrounds / documents

  • Draft for the German implementation law on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, PDF: "Draft of the law to strengthen security in passport, ID and immigration law documents"
  • Regulation (EU) 2019/1157 of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 20, 2019 in the Official Journal of the EU, PDF: “Regulation to increase the security of identity cards of Union citizens and of residence documents issued to Union citizens and their family members who give their right to free movement exercise "
  • Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor of 10 August 2018
  • Opinion of the Agency for Fundamental Rights of 5 September 2018
  • Report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of 7 December 2018
  • Regulation in the Legislative Observatory of the EU Parliament, other documents linked
  • Wikipedia: fingerprint / dactylogram, dactyloscopy
  • planet-wissen.de: Criticism of the dactyloscopy
  • Wikipedia: List of national identity card policies by country
  • heise.de: April 1st, 2017, Detlef Borchers: 30 years ago: First machine-readable identity card in Germany
  • ID card portal of the Federal Office of the Interior
  • EU Commission, April 17, 2018: Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment
  • EU Commission, April 17, 2018: Impact Assessment
  • EU Commission, July 10, 2018: Analysis of public consultation on ID and residence cards July 10, 2018
  • statewatch.org: Analysis - Fingerprints in identity cards: unnecessary and unjustified - June 2018