Mass surveillance through biometric ID cards in Germany
Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF)
Privacy and data protection
In Germany, since 2017, citizens’ personal information and photographs from their ID cards have been stored in registers that are accessible to various state bodies. Under German law, authorities such as the police and intelligence services can process, essentially unchecked, the photographs of the whole population that are stored on these registers.
GFF are concerned this will lead to mass surveillance and violations of the right to privacy through, for example, connecting the database of photos to the real-time use of facial recognition technology by police. They are taking litigation to restrict access to the photographs in the register and prevent state bodies from surveiling the whole population.
A constitutional complaint was filed in July 2018, which is currently awaiting action by the Federal Constitutional Court.
"authorities such as the police and intelligence services can process, essentially unchecked, the photographs of the whole population"
To restrict the surveillance powers of the German government in order to preserve the fundamental right to privacy held by all citizens, and to set a precedent that can be used by other EU countries to push for safeguards around the roll out of biometric ID cards.