Detailresult Groep, the company behind the supermarkets Dirk and DekaMarkt, will stop using a finger scan for staff in the course of 2020. The company reports this after questions from NU.nl. Due to the AVG privacy law, the use of such a system is under pressure. For that reason, HEMA announced earlier that it would also stop the system.
It is unclear what the exact reason is that Dirk and DekaMarkt no longer want to use the system. Parent company Detailresult speaks of a "proprietary decision", but does not want to comment further on the matter.
A tour of NU.nl shows that the use of finger scans, for example to open cash registers or to keep track of time, is widespread. Large companies such as HEMA department store and Pathé cinema chain also use such a system. That while a finger scan due to the privacy sensitivity may not just be used in these situations.
Judge: the employer cannot simply introduce a finger scan system
Shoe case Manfield was pointed out by the court in August. According to the court, the store had not properly substantiated why a finger scanning system is necessary.
INretail, the trade association for retailers in non-food, therefore advises entrepreneurs not to use finger scanning systems. "There are other systems that do not infringe on privacy," the association informed NU.nl, "these are advised by us."
Stricter rules apply to finger scans than for many other personal data, because it is a so-called 'biometric data'. A biometric data is a unique body characteristic, with which you can identify someone, such as an iris scan, voice recognition or a fingerprint. You cannot simply change a biometric data, such as a pin code or a pass.
See also: HEMA does finger scan for employees banned because of privacy law
Organizations critical of finger scanning systems
Other organizations are also critical. Trade association Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) informs NU.nl that a finger scan may only be used in "exceptional cases". KHN advises catering entrepreneurs to take this into account if they want to use a finger scanning system for their staff.
FNV spokesperson Erna Bosschart points to the situation at HEMA: "Apparently it is possible without it," she says about the department store's decision to stop the finger scans.
Employee's permission 'difficult', and therefore rarely valid
An employer may only require a fingerprint in very exceptional cases and although voluntary consent can normally be a reason to process a fingerprint, this is "difficult" in such situations. That says the privacy regulator, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP).
Because there is a relationship of authority between the employer and employee, an employee may feel pressured to agree to the use of such a system. "In theory, an employer can say that working with a finger scanning system is voluntary, but in practice employees often feel the pressure not to be found difficult," lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet said earlier to NU.nl.
Moreover, companies have been obliged since November to conduct a study into the privacy risks of use. Only if it shows that a finger scanning system is really necessary, for example to secure buildings or computer systems, can an employee be forced to hand over his fingerprint.