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Algemeen Dagblad, 29 April 2015: 'Route checks are against the law'

Privacy First Foundation has taken up the fight against route controls. The cameras above motorways are too great an invasion of our privacy and in violation of the law, chairman Bas Filippini argued yesterday before the Utrecht subdistrict court.

Motorists know them all too well: the cameras over the A2, A4 and A13, among others, which can lead to an envelope from the Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB) if a speeding offence is committed.

Bas Filippini also received one. He decided to challenge the fine in the cantonal court, in order to elicit a ruling on principle. According to the privacy activist, route controls violate both the Dutch constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The government is reversing a legal principle with section controls, namely that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, Filippini believes. "To catch 2 per cent speeding drivers, the other 98 per cent who keep neatly to the speed limit are also filmed. Why do so many citizens who have done nothing wrong have to be checked?"

According to the prosecution, there is no violation of privacy. "Only the data of speeders are kept. The rest is erased within 72 hours," says OM spokesman Ernst Koelman. Occasionally, these data are requested by the police for investigation purposes. "But that involves only a handful of cases per year."

It will not be the first time Filippini and his foundation have given the government a slap on the wrist. Previously, he successfully litigated against fingerprinting on passports, telecom data retention obligations and the compulsory introduction of parking license plates. Now, too, he thinks he has a good chance: "There is no legal basis for route controls."

Public space

According to Privacy First, route controls are part of a chain of control tools that allow the government to get a picture of someone's doings. "Why does everything you do in public spaces have to be registered?"

Filippini founded the Privacy First foundation in 2008, after seeing the rapid surrender of privacy since the 9/11 attacks. "America came up with the Patriot Act, but then-Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin also joined in considerably. I thought a line should be drawn." Since then, he has been provoking test cases.

Verdict in two weeks."

Source: Algemeen Dagblad 29 April 2015, p. 11. Also published in AD/De Dordtenaar, AD/Green Hart, AD/Rotterdams Dagblad, AD/Haagsche Courant, AD/Utrechts Nieuwsblad, AD/Amersfoortse Courant, AD/Rivierenland 29 April 2015 (p. 11) and on, 28 April 2015.