Sectoral associations of Belgian professional photographers and passport photo booth distributors are today launching a campaign on social media against a scheme to take passport photos by municipalities in order to combat identity fraud. However, for professional photographers, passport photos are an important source of income.
The photography sector had already united in February and spoke to the relevant ministers in an open letter. According to the unions, this was followed by the first exploratory meeting. And a second technical meeting had to be postponed, after which, according to the treasuries, the time was not ripe again until the end of April.
“At least two months later,” says Caroline Tange, president of Beroepsfotografen.be. “This instilled a little bit of confidence in us and in the meantime the communication stopped. So when we found out that the rollout of the pilot was still going on behind the scenes, all alarm bells went off. We don’t call that a serious conversation.”
Professional associations of photographers, vzw Studio, Beroepsfotografen.be and French-speaking U2PF, together with photo booth distributors Prontophot Belgium and aps, are today launching a social media campaign under the slogan “ Taking passport photos is our profession. Stop stealing bread! #StopLiveEnrollment.” For example, they want to address ministers about their approach and invite municipalities not to participate in the project.
“Since ministers have already allowed ‘live recording’ to get this far without hearing us, we think it is only reasonable that they postpone the project now that talks have finally begun,” Tangi said.
Entrepreneurial organization Unizo supports the campaign. CEO Danny van Ash said: “The government itself regulates unfair competition and puts entrepreneurs off the hook. Many are even threatening to close their doors for direct registration. We support the idea of combating passport photo fraud, but it could ideally be done – and much better. – With the sector. We call on the relevant ministers to find solutions with professional photographers through further consultations.”
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