Every motorist becomes potential suspect
Justice wants to start tracking all motorists. Privacy First Foundation is preparing legal action.
In a far-reaching bill Security and Justice Minister Opstelten wants the license plates of all cars through camera surveillance and Automatic number plate recognition (number plate recognition, ANPR) will be stored for four weeks for investigation and prosecution. Under current rules, this data should be deleted within 24 hours. In 2010, the previous justice minister (Hirsch Ballin) planned to submit a similar proposal with a 10-day retention period. However, the House of Representatives subsequently declared the issue controversial. Opstelten, with his current proposal, is still adding a few shovels to it. Early 2010 judged the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) that police forces were not complying with the rules by storing license plates longer than allowed by law. According to the CBP, all license plates that are not suspicious (so-called "no-hits") should be immediately removed from the databases. So now Opstelten is going straight against this by also storing the license plates of non-suspicious citizens for four weeks.
Privacy First Foundation sees Opstelten's bill as a threat to society. "Every citizen becomes a potential suspect because of this measure. You have to trust the government, but that government itself distrusts citizens," said Privacy First chairman Bas Filippini. In a healthy democratic rule of law, the government should leave innocent citizens alone. With this bill, the government is crossing that principled line. Collectively monitoring all motorists for detection and prosecution is completely disproportionate and therefore unlawful.
If the parliament passes this bill, Privacy First will sue the Dutch state and have the law declared non-binding due to violation of the right to privacy. If necessary, Privacy First and individual co-plaintiffs will take this to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Any citizen wishing to participate in this lawsuit can register with Privacy First from today, with reference to "ANPR Litigation".