Research on the legislation regarding the use of biometric and biographical data


The e-Governance Academy has contributed to completing a study regarding the legislation regulating the use of biometric and biographical data and has prepared proposals to further plan and implement the identity policy of Estonia.

The aim of this applied study was to obtain an overview of current legislation in the field of identification of a person and identity verification on the basis of biometric and biographical data in EU Member States and countries that are signatories to the Schengen Agreement; and to determine how the cross-use of such data has been regulated in private-law and private relationships. The Ministry of the Interior of Estonia will use the results of this study to plan and implement the identity policy of Estonia.

The study included nine EU Member States: Estonia, Austria, the Netherlands, Latvia, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, Finland and the UK, and also two countries that have joined the Schengen agreement – Norway and Switzerland.

The study resulted in proposals on improving Estonia’s identity management. The principal recommendations are, as follows:

  • One of the corner stones of the success story that is Estonia’s e-Government is a strong centralised identity management system that is based on unique personal identification codes, trustworthy identity plans and obligatory identification documents. Estonia must carry on with the identity management model that has proved to be successful to date.
  • The general principles of the identification of persons should be regulated in laws and as a system of subordinate legal instruments; good practices for the identification of persons and an identity management dictionary should be drawn up for public and private institutions.
  • The established division of tasks regarding identity management in Estonia should be described in one document.
  • The Estonian contact-points belonging to the EU’s e-identification cooperation network should be considered part of Estonia’s identity management system.

The applied study was ordered by the Ministry of the Interior of Estonia and funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Ministry of the Interior of Estonia.

The study was compiled by: Helar Laasik (De Sapientia Partnerid OÜ), Katrin Nyman-Metcalf, PhD (E-riigi Akadeemia SA (e-Governance Academy), Mari Pedak (E-riigi Akadeemia SA) and Jekaterina Tšikova (Krabu Grupp OÜ).