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Flood of lawsuits against biometric passports

2008-02-05 00:00:00, erdgeist

A constitutional complaint against the inclusion of biometric characteristics in passports has been lodged following a lawsuit filed by lawyer Michael Schwarz. "Finally a debate long overdue in society flanked by legal steps against the biometric registration of the population is underway", said Chaos Computer Club (CCC) spokesman Dirk Engling.

On January 28, 2008 the well-known German author Juli Zeh filed a complaint about the "criminal records department measures". She justifies her charge that the biometric measures violate the constitution [1] by bypassing the German Parliament with EU regulation as well as other constitutional issues. Legislative initiatives for which there will probably be no parliamentary majority, are being raised at European level, she writes. This so-called European by-path was spurred on significantly by the former German Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily.

Zeh sees Schily's actions as driven by his private financial commitments and notes with alarm the fact that he became a member of the supervisory board of Byometric Systems AG after leaving office raising the specter of conflicts of interest during his period in office. Schily also was a supervisory board member and shareholder in biometrics manufacturer SAFE ID solutions AG, as well as a legal consultant to Siemens AG. [2] Schily has so far refused to disclose all of his earnings as a member of the German Bundestag.

The CCC vehemently protested against biometric passports, previously making the statement that this serious conflict of political and financial interests requires an independent oversight. [3] Dirk Engling comments: There is a question about the extent to which the rushed introduction of biometric identification documents is primarily serving the private financial interests of individual public officials. The use of biometrics, which is widely regarded as insecure, was obviously pushed through without regard to the interests of citizens and at enormous costs.

The CCC supports the actions undertaken by Mr Schwarz and believes it to be the duty of all affected citizens to contact their elected representatives about having the presumption of their innocence restored when interacting with the registration office. Mr Schwarz has published his statement of claim under [4].

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