The European Court of Justice has ruled that the Netherlands can collect fingerprints and store all biometric data from its citizens when applying for a passport or ID card, following legal objections by Dutch citizens.The case began when four Dutch applicants refused to provide biometric data on the grounds that creating and storing it constituted a breach of their physical integrity and their right to privacy.The Dutch Council of State had asked the court to clarify European Union rules regarding the storage of biometric data.The CoJ stated on Wednesday that under existing rules, member states are not required to guarantee in their legislation that collected biometric data will only be used for the issuance of a passport or an identification card.The CoJ judgment adds that proceedings in this case are now “a step in the action pending before the national court”, meaning it is now up to the Council of State to rule in the four cases.EU legal expert Steve Peers has criticised the decision on this personal blog, saying “I won't mince words: this judgment is appalling. It's sensible enough as regards the scope of the passports Regulation itself, which clearly wasn't intended to apply to any national identity cards or to the creation of government databases using biometric data. ߪ But the Court's fundamental flaw is its failure to confirm and elaborate upon the application of the Charter and the data protection Directive to such databases.”