As of August, Finnish identity card applicants will be fingerprinted by the police.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, fingerprints will be taken from anyone applying for an identity card. The only exceptions will be children under 12 years of age and people for whom fingerprinting is physically impossible.
The President of the Republic, Sauli Niinistö, approved this amendment to the Identity Card Act on June 29 and it is scheduled to take effect on 2 August.
With this new provision, Finland adapts to the EU regulations on identity cards. Because of the EU Regulation, the information content and appearance of identity cards will also be reformed.
"The aim of the regulation is to improve the reliability and security of identity cards of EU citizens," says the Ministry of the Interior.
The fingerprint is a biometric identifier, and it is a permanent and immutable part of each individual. For such biometric identifiers, specific requirements for data security are needed to ensure the protection of privacy. For this reason, separate provisions on data security related to the chip of an identity card are laid down in the Identity Card Act.
As fingerprints and facial images are particularly sensitive data, they may be accessed by authorities issuing identity cards — police departments, Finnish missions, the police and the Border Guard — and by Customs when it acts as a criminal investigation authority or carries out the duties of a border control authority.
Prevent identity theft
“In Finland, passport applicants must already have their fingerprints taken and stored in the passport register. Similarly, the Identity Card Act includes a provision on the storage of fingerprints in the identity card register. To make it easier to use the services, every applicant can in future use their fingerprints taken for the passport to apply for an identity card. Fingerprints taken for the identity card can also be used for passport applications in future,” says Marja-Leena Härkönen, Senior Specialist from the Ministry of the Interior.
"The storage of fingerprints in the register and the comparison of fingerprint data with the register are aimed at preventing identity misuse," the Ministry says.
Parliament passed the government bill for amending the Identity Card Act on 4 June and on Tuesday 29 June, the President of the Republic approved it.
The Act will enter into force on 2 August, at the same time as the application of the EU Regulation begins.