German Interior Minister Schäuble’s fingerprint hacked

Hackers from the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) have published German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble's fingerprint online in protest of new German passports that save fingerprints on an electronic chip.

German Interior Minister Schäuble's fingerprint hacked
Photo: Chaos Computer Club,

Schäuble told German weekly newspaper Die Zeit that the Saturday publication of the fingerprint on the CCC website didn’t bother him and left him “cold.”

“My fingerprint is no secret. Anyone can have it. I don’t have anything to fear,” Schäuble told the paper on Sunday.

A CCC spokesperson told German weekly magazine Focus that one of their sympathizers took the fingerprint from a glass that Schäuble had used. The recent issue of the club magazine Datenschleuder features a small piece of plastic film with the image which the CCC claims can be worn on the fingertip to impersonate Schäuble at fingerprint scanners.

A March 29 statement on the CCC website said the group chose the action to bring a concrete expression to the the data privacy debate which has been relatively abstract until now.

“Fingerprint biometrics is not as secure as the politicians claim. It doesn’t belong to security use, especially in the ePassport,” said CCC spokesperson Dirk Engling in the statement. “The use of fingerprints to identify citizens is a technical and security politics meandering that must be buried as soon as possible.”

Since November 1, new passports contain fingerprint data on a chip. The CCC issued a warning then that data security can’t be guaranteed with this kind of system.

The German Interior Ministry doesn’t want to get involved in the “almost philosophical debate,” a spokesperson told Die Zeit. The Ministry doesn’t see a connection between the CCC hacker exploit and the ePassport, the spokesperson added, saying the Ministry’s task is to increase the security of personal documentation.

On Monday CCC threatened to publish Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fingerprints as part of their campaign against the government’s use of biometric data.