Privacy watchdog warns companies: photocopying ID is illegal

Companies are breaking the law in asking customers for a copy of their passport, the Dutch privacy watchdog warns on Thursday.

Handing over a photocopy of your ID can be an aid to identity theft, the CBP says after an investigation into a number of different sectors.

For example, in some cases people were asked to provide a copy of their ID when signing up to a gym or swimming pool. Organisers of major events often ask for a copy of a passport as well, the CBP says.


‘Of course companies can check if people are who they say there are,’ watchdog spokesman Wilbert Tomesen says. ‘But piles of photocopies of passports is an invitation to identity fraud, which has major financial and social ramifications for citizens.’

The tax office also advised companies to make copies of subcontractors’ workers’ passports, but this has since changed, the CBP says. The transport sector association has also informed its members that lorry drivers are not required by law to hand over a copy of their ID when making a delivery.

Many companies are not aware making copies of passports and ID cards is an illegal practice with only a few exceptions, the CBP says. The organisation has drawn up guidelines to ensure citizens know their rights.

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