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Leeuwarder Courant, 19 March 2013: 'Anger over storage of license plates'

Photos of number plates may soon be kept for four weeks

DEN HAAG - The Ministry of Security and Justice sees much potential in expanding the storage of camera images of vehicle license plates, but a lawsuit is looming.

Cameras now capture vehicles and their number plates in traffic. The data can then be automatically compared with license plates of vehicles registered in the name of acquaintances of the police, such as someone who has yet to serve a sentence or pay a fine.

The license plates visible on camera images are immediately compared with a file of license plates in the name of these 'acquaintances'. If this produces a 'hit', the police get to work. The remaining 'no hits' go into the bin.

Soon, police will be allowed to store the 'no hits' for four weeks and use them to solve crimes. Storing is done without linking a person's name to it. After reporting or discovering a crime, the police can then investigate, for example, whether the car of the suspect of a robbery has been spotted at a certain place.

'We need to return to solid classical fundamental rights'

The Council of State is already not enthusiastic about the storage of camera images. But the Foundation Privacy First, known for its fight against the new passport, has no intention at all of accepting it if it becomes legally possible. Then there will be a lawsuit, says Vincent Böhre of the said organisation. Every citizen will become a potential suspect by this measure, his foundation believes, and everyone's whereabouts will just be recorded and kept.

The government should leave innocent citizens alone and take action only upon reasonable suspicion, the foundation said. "We need to return to such classical fundamental rights and not criminalise the entire population. It is now increasingly being reversed. In doing so, it may be done anonymously, but everything can be traced and also everything can be hacked."

Citizens themselves are also becoming far too easy to release all kinds of information, according to Böhre. This is then a collective process, stimulated by developments such as Facebook, he thinks. The House of Representatives is discussing the widening of the possibilities to use camera images on Wednesday. (ANP)"

Source: Leeuwarder Courant, 19 March 2013, p. 2.