After a witness in Bulgaria had testified wrongly, was imprisoned for a year and then let out on rehabilitation. As part of his sentencing, the Bulgarian criminal records are obliged to keep fingerprints, a photograph and DNA samples in order to prevent crime in future instances. The Bulgarian citizen demanded that his biometric data be removed from records, at which point the Bulgarian Courts referred this case to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).

The decision was unequivocal: under EU law, storing biometric data until the death of the subject is unlawful. The national justice system has to continually re-evaluate the risks the data subject might pose, and if the risks are not substantial, storage of biometric data is not permitted.

More details of this case, as well as all the documentation. The decision was made on the 30th of January 2024.

Case Notes | Judgement