Machine translations by Deepl

Anonymous OV-chip card is not anonymous

The Dutch government keeps you laughing these days. Take the "anonymous OV-chipkaart". That card is not at all anonymous. At least, not from the moment you bought it with your debit card. Or from the moment you charged it digitally at a vending machine. Something most people do. This is because from that moment, the unique identification number (!) of the RFID chip in your "anonymous" OV-chip card can be linked to your bank account. And therefore to you. This way, the government can track all day long people who think they are travelling anonymously. Laugh, right?

Now you may be thinking, "Yes, but then I can just buy that anonymous OV-chipcard in cash and keep recharging it with cash, right?" Indeed you can, if you manage to find a vending machine that still accepts cash every time. And if you have already found such a cash vending machine, you will still not remain anonymous. Because every time you check in or out at a public transport gate, you will be filmed by surveillance cameras. So you can still be linked to your OV-chip card.

So the next time you buy an "anonymous OV-chip card" somewhere, you might as well also ask for a closed hole pan straight away. Or a left-handed screwdriver. After all, those don't exist either. But at least then the people in the queue behind you will have a nice afternoon.

As absurd as the Netherlands is by now, actually Privacy First cannot laugh at this at all. So we are considering action. Not by yet another begging letter towards political The Hague; the cap pistol (or water pistol) among the means of action. Our thoughts are currently focused on the double-barreled shotgun in our action arsenal: a new lawsuit. You will hear from us... 😉

Update 20 October 2011: For relevant background information, please refer to this publication by the Rathenau Institute (pp. 32-41). This dates from late 2010 and is still current.