Chamber Of Deputies Approves Amendment To ID Cards Law

The Chamber of Deputies has approved an amendment to the Identity Cards Act. Citizens will receive ID cards with chips containing their fingerprints. Women will be able to decide whether to change their surname. The change has yet to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President. Photo Credit:

Czech Rep., June 4 (BD) – On Wednesday, the Chamber of Deputies approved an amendment to the Identity Cards Act. From August, new identity cards will be issued with a contactless chip holding biometric data. Deputies also approved a proposal by Helena Válková (ANO) and Ondřej Profant (Piráti) to allow women to choose to remove the -ová suffix from their surname.

The existing legislation allows this suffix to be dropped only in the case that the woman is a foreign national, a Czech citizen with permanent residence abroad, has a foreign husband, or has a nationality other than Czech. According to the proponents of the change, women have subjective reasons for choosing the form of their surname, which should not be assessed by the state.

“This creates an unjustified unequal position and can lead to absurd situations. For example, a Czech woman living permanently in Slovakia can have her surname registered in the masculine form, while a Czech with a permanent residence in the Czech Republic cannot make this choice,” said Válková.

Pirate MP Ondřej Profant argued that the inclusion of gender information on ID cards was not necessary and interfered with the right to privacy and the protection of personal data. “Presenting this data causes everyday difficulties for hundreds, especially trans and non-binary people,” he said. However, the amendment to remove gender from ID cards, or make this information voluntary, was rejected.

The amendment responds to a European Parliament regulation requiring that ID cards should include a machine-readable part to ensure that documents meet the minimum security standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The amendment will remove some further data from the cards, such as a citizen’s academic qualifications and birth number.

The regulation allows for a gradual change. Existing machine-readable ID cards will be valid for travel within the EU until their normal expiry date. Those that do not contain a machine-readable function must be replaced within five years. 

For citizens over the age of 15, ID cards will be valid for ten years, as before. Children under the age of six can now obtain an identity card valid for two years. From the age of six to 15, cards with a five-year validity will continue to be issued. 

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