In a judgment of the District Court of Amsterdam, it was decided that fingerprinting for access to company data or locations should not be compulsory without a fight. The reason for the judgment is that such an obligation is contrary to the Dutch Privacy Act.

An employee of the shoe retailer Manfield, together with the company, has requested a ruling from the court because the retailer uses cash registers that work with a fingerprint scanner. This means that the cash register can only be used by entering a fingerprint that has been entered into the system. According to the court, there is a certain power relationship between employer and employee. This increases the chance of a fingerprint being made available involuntarily.

Arguments Manfield does not make sense

Manfield put forward the argument that fingerprint scanning was necessary because the cash register needed to be protected against intruders. However, this was rejected by the court because the company previously used a system of personal codes. Manfield correctly introduced a system with fingerprints, because the old system would be too old-fashioned.

According to the court, the company did not argue clearly enough why the new system was necessary. For example, a combination of several systems could have been used. This would ensure security without compromising workers’ privacy. The employee and the company have therefore decided not to appeal.

In some cases, however, according to the courts, it is allowed for companies to enter fingerprints without permission. However, this is only the case in situations where the need is greatest, and when the use of the fingerprint remains proportional. It is not clear how it is determined when exactly use is proportional.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.