NOS.co.uk, 13 June 2015: 'Chip should end license plate fraud'
"On behalf of the Ministry of Security and Justice, a special chip is being tested at a Defence site near Oirschot. This should put an end to licence plate fraud. If the results prove good in a year's time, the chip will be introduced.
An estimated 40,000 fake number plates are in circulation in the Netherlands. Criminals use them when they fill up with fuel without paying and when they commit burglaries, among other things. They also mount fake number plates on getaway cars.
One of the testers is Maurice Geraets. He is the director of NXP, the company that makes the chip. His dark car is parked in front of building 46 on Eindhoven's High Tech Campus. A closer look at the number plate reveals a square area with a slot below the three letters.
"That slot is an antenna through which the licence plate can be read remotely," says Geraets. "Soon there will be portals above the road with readers that also contain an antenna. This communicates with the number plate on the car below. The reader is connected to computers of the RDW, which will tell whether the number plate is correct."
Petrol station owners could also buy such a reader. They can check before releasing the pump for refuelling whether the number plate has a chip and thus whether the car is valid.
According to Geraets, the fear of invasion of privacy is unnecessary. "Patterns in driving behaviour cannot be established with it. The chip generates constantly changing codes. It can be identified by the reader, but even if you were to query the car every day, it is not traceable where it has been before."
The Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) is critical. "A car is a very personal possession and is experienced by many as a second home," says spokesperson Lysette Rutgers. "In it and with it, you should be able to move around freely. Therefore, the need for the chip must be carefully considered."
Can the same goal be achieved in a less invasive way, Rutgers wonders. "The trial should look at whether the chip can really only be read by authorised persons and authorities and whether security is in place."
Bas Filippini of the organisation Privacy First is also critical. "It is of course very good that criminals are being tackled, but this goes much further. We are not in favour of a large-scale monitoring system that continuously monitors where people are," he said on NOS Radio 1 News. "We call it a spy chip."
Filippini says the system can soon be used for other things. "You get a shift of objectives. Look at route control. That was supposed to be for safety, but is now being used to keep that granny in her old diesel out of Utrecht city centre."
Although the chip is still in the testing phase, Geraets no longer needs convincing. As far as he is concerned, it is not a test, but more about providing proof that the system works.
"We know the chip works and we want to demonstrate that to all stakeholders and to politicians. We purposely do this for four seasons, so we can demonstrate that the chip works even when snow is caked on the number plate, for example. With camera surveillance, that really doesn't work.""
Source: http://nos.nl/artikel/2041098-chip-moet-einde-maken-aan-fraude-met-kentekens.html, 13 June 2015.