Dutch funeral home takes clients' fingerprints without relatives' permission: report
Funeral home DELA took fingerprints of deceased people without the consent of their next of kin and then used the fingerprints for commercial purposes, consumer program Radar Radio revealed. DELA has now changed their policy and will for the time being only take fingerprints after explicit consent from relatives, a spokesperson said to NU.nl.
DELA started taking fingerprints on September 1st. Afterwards the funeral home approached the relatives with an offer of a personalized ring or necklace, that could cost hundreds of euros, according tor Radar Radio.
Fingerprints and other biometric data are considered special personal data and may therefore only be processed in exceptional situations.
The fingerprints were usually taken with the family's knowledge, according to DELA. In some cases, for example if a person had died in hospital and was transferred to the funeral home without he presence of relatives, fingerprints were taken without the relatives giving prior consent.
"Then we take fingerprints as soon as possible, because the quality is still very good. Next of kin are informed at the first possible opportunity", the DELA spokesperson said, according to NU.nl. "If relatives want nothing to do with the fingerprints, they will be destroyed. If they want to, the prints are stored according to legal guidelines."
According to the spokesperson, DELA chose this method because people sometimes only asked for fingerprints as a tangible reminder after the funeral, and thus too late. DELA received three complaints about this procedure since September 1st, one came from a family that also told its story to Radar, the spokesperson said.