Press release 06.11.2020

The Bundestag adopts a new passport law: biometric cameras and self-service terminals from private providers are still on a level playing field and competition is desired.

The German Bundestag passed the federal government’s bill to strengthen the security of the system of passports, identity cards and foreign documents, with the stipulations of the resolution recommended by the Committee on the Interior.



Originally, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) aimed to have the authorities take exclusive photographs on site to achieve the highest possible level of security. This approach was ruled out because of the economic consequences for photographers and the specialized photography trade. In addition, the Federal Ministry of the Interior wanted the authorities to use only the imaging equipment of the Bundesdruckerei GmbH. The necessity of this measure, as claimed by the BMI, was contradicted by the vast majority of experts at the hearing of the Bundestag’s Committee on the Interior. As a result, the original bill was amended by coalition factions. The recommendation of the above-mentioned resolution of the Committee on the Interior states



“Municipalities are not obliged to include the Bundesdruckerei’s photographic imaging equipment in the application procedure […]. Instead, the municipalities should have the free choice to also be able to use cameras from private suppliers […].



This applies both to the traditional photo trade and to private providers of photo capture devices such as photo booths and Slef service terminals. The latter should be able to continue to install their equipment in the authority, provided they have appropriate agreements with the respective municipalities.



Municipalities will therefore no longer be obliged to use the self-service terminals or photo imaging devices of the Bundesdruckerei GmbH in the future, but will be able to continue to use the innovative and proven products of private providers as an alternative. The private sector companies are very pleased that a monopoly of the public enterprise has been prevented and will in future give weight to their interests in the pre-competitive area by forming an association.

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