STA, 1 October 2019 - As Slovenia is obliged to introduce biometric identity cards in August 2021 and with the relevant legislative changes being drafted by the Interior Ministry, institutions have been warning that it needs to be ensured that the biometric data from the cards are not used for other purposes.
The biometric identity card needs to be introduced on 2 August 2021 in line with the regulation on strengthening the security of identity cards of the EU citizens.
Slovenia started issuing the current identity cards on 20 June 1998, and they have not been changed or upgraded with additional security features since.
A total of 1.83 million Slovenian citizens have the card, which they can use to travel to 37 countries. Identity cards are issued in 26 member states, and they are mandatory in 15 member states.
As the security features differ significantly among the member states, there is a high risk of forging and abuse of the personal document, which is the main reason the EU decided to introduce the uniform identity card.
The new security features will include biometric data, while national identity cards in all member states will also need to be labelled with the EU mark.
The Interior Ministry is already drafting relevant changes to the identity card act, which will require from those applying for the new card to provide two fingerprints, as is the rule for biometric passports.
The fingerprint requirement will apply to persons aged 12 or older, and the application also needs to feature a photograph. The new card will feature a chip with the holder's face and fingerprints saved as biometric data.
It will be permitted to use these data only for verifying the genuineness of the identity card and the holder's identity on border crossings, the ministry says.
The plan by the ministries of the interior and of public administration is that the card also features data for electronic identification and electronic signature, which would allow its holders to use e-commerce services.
"This would make the new Slovenian identity card a means of electronic identification for cross-border transactions," the ministry said, adding that this would enhance the use of e-services both in the public and private sector.
Citizens whose current identity cards will still be valid on 2 August 2021 will not be required to replace them before they expire. This also applies for the personal identity cards without the expiry date, which are issued to persons who turn 70.
The Office of the Information Commissioner has told the STA that the use of biometric data had both positive and negative sides.
Biometric data are mostly unique permanent identifiers, whose collection and use must be strictly regulated, said the office, which thus expects that the introduction of biometric data will take place in accordance with the EU law.
"What needs to be ensured is that biometric data are not used for other purposes, which is why the bodies supervising the protection of personal information will certainly be supervising the use of such cards."